Recently the Australian government has modified it’s recommendations for face masks to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
Masks can help reduce transmission of infection in situations where social distancing is not possible or you have people at home who could have bad outcomes if you were to bring COVID home.
It is important to note that masks are not a guarantee to block infection and do not replace social distancing,
hand washing, cough etiquette and staying home when unwell.
Are there problems with masks?
- Some people may neglect measures like social distancing or hand washing when wearing a mask
- A mask alone will not prevent infection
- If you touch the mask after it is put on you can contaminate your hands
- Wet masks are less effective
- P2 or N95 masks as they are difficult to get on and off without contaminating yourself. They should be reserved for people trained in their use.
- Some of the masks on the market are of very poor quality and may offer no protection
When May Masks Be Useful?
- Situations where social distancing is difficult for example public transport or large public gatherings similar to the recent protests seen around the world.
- People who live with, or live with other people who could have severe illness if infected i.e. lung disease, heart disease or other medical conditions
How To Safely Wear A Mask
- Wash your hands before putting on your mask
- Disposable masks have a top and bottom. The top has a metal strip to help shape against the nose
- Disposable masks have an inside and an outside. Generally the coloured side faces outwards away from your face.
- When putting on the mask don’t ever touch the front panel
- Place the mask against the nose. Shape the mask so it fits nicely on the nose
- Pull the elastic bands over the ears
- Grab the lower edge of the mask and pull it over your chin.
- To remove the mask, simply pull straps over the ears and lift the mask off the face.
- NEVER touch the front of the mask.
- Dispose of the mask in a plastic bag to protect others.
Tips for wearing a mask
- Once the mask is on it’s important to never touch it. Don’t pull it down to speak, eat, smoke or drink.
- Always wash your hands before and after removing your mask
- The mask has to cover your nose and chin to be effective.
- A mask is not as effective if wet or damaged. Carry extra masks to be able to replace though out the day.
- If you have respiratory disease talk with your doctor before wearing a mask – breathing through a mask can be hard work and may make some lung diseases worse.