A face mask - recently probably the most inflected and searched-for word in the Czech Republic. In fact, it has become an integral part of our lives just overnight. Since there are not enough of them available anywhere, everyone takes care of them as best as they can. The face masks are most often made of cotton fabric and they are used repeatedly. That is why it is necessary to take good care of them.
The cotton face mask can catch almost 80% of all coughed up infectious particles. Its effectiveness can therefore be compared to the surgical face mask used by doctors in the hospital. However, for the face mask to work properly and to protect your surroundings from coronavirus and other infections, you must also take care of it and use it properly. This means putting it on, wearing it, taking it off and maintaining it properly.
Putting on the face maskWash your hands with soap or use hand sanitizer before putting on the face mask. Touch the face mask only at the edges, ideally only touch the caps or rubber bands. Avoid the middle and front area of the mask.
The face mask should cover your nose and mouth, do not wear it on your neck or under your nose, as this reduces its effectiveness a lot.
Wearing a face maskDo not touch the face mask while wearing it. You should change the mask regularly, preferably every hour. If you speak or you are among a bigger crowd of people, feel free to change it more often. For this reason, you should have more face masks that you can change and wear. When the mask is damp, its effectiveness decreases. To make sure your face mask is effective, change it really regularly.
Face mask maintenanceThe risk of infection is the biggest in the moment when you handle a used face mask. Therefore, be careful when taking it off and only touch the caps or rubber bands. Ideally place the face mask into a container that can be closed. Put it in a plastic bag to prevent contamination of your surroundings. Then do not forget to wash and disinfect your hands properly.
Used face masks need to be sterilized. Boiling is the best way to disinfect the mask. You can boil the masks in a pot, where you let them boil for at least 5 minutes and then let them dry. You can also wash them in the washing machine, but in this case do not add any other laundry inside.
Some studies of similar types of coronaviruses claim that the virus particles are destroyed at the temperature of 60° C after 30 minutes of washing, but increase the temperature to 90° C to be sure. Do not sterilize the face mask in a microwave or in an oven, there is a risk of ignition.
After drying, the masks need to be ironed, ideally with a steam iron. If you do not have a steam iron, select the highest temperature on your regular one and iron the fabric for 5 minutes.
Store clean and ironed face masks in a dry and clean place. Be sure to disinfect the area where the masks are stored. Make sure that clean masks do not come into contact with used ones.
Wearing a face masks and changing it regularly helps stopping the spread of coronavirus in society. You may not protect yourself by wearing a face mask, but you will protect your surroundings, family and friends. In addition, it is currently true that we are not allowed to move in public without a face mask, so it is an absolute necessity.