Coronavirus: You're Wearing Your Face Mask Wrong If You're Doing Any of These

Wearing a face mask incorrectly

Staying vigilant in the fight against the spread of coronavirus might seem daunting at times, but The Doctors stress the importance of continuing all preventive methods -- including wearing a face mask and wearing it correctly.

More: Ask an Expert: Face Mask vs. Face Shield to Protect from Coronavirus

If you are doing any of these things -- according to The New York Times and CNN -- you are wearing your face mask incorrectly and could be putting yourself and others at risk:

  • Not wearing a mask while in public, especially while indoors when around others not in your household (If you need some inspiration to wear a mask, check out the latest number of COVID cases in America and worldwide)
  • Not covering your nose (Don't forget to cover your chin!)
  • Only wearing the mask at the tip of your nose (The mask should be placed at the bridge of your nose)
  • Not covering your chin (Don't forget to cover your nose!)
  • Leaving loose gaps between your cheeks and the mask
  • Pulling your mask down and resting it under your chin and around the neck

We cannot stress enough that any of the above-listed behaviors are defeating the purpose of wearing the mask.

The NYT shares some important safety reminders about taking off and cleaning your mask, which include:

  • Wash your hands before and after wearing it
  • Put on, take off and adjust the mask with the ear loops and not front
  • Avoid touching the front of the mask
  • If you live an apartment building wear your mask in all common areas like elevators, stairwells, laundry rooms
  • Wash and dry your cloth mask daily and keep it in a clean, dry place -- CNN suggests if you are planning to wear the mask again the same day to store it in a sealed plastic bag between uses

Additionally, while a face mask with a valve (the type with the plastic circle piece on the front the mask) might seem like an upgrade to a cloth mask, they are reportedly not as effective at preventing the spread of the virus and the air valve may make things even worse as the valve can allow droplets to pass through. The Washington Post notes medical mask do not include valves and these types are meant to be worn in construction settings and not for virus prevention. In fact, the city of San Francisco says these type of mask do not meet their maks guidelines.

More: Coronavirus: 6 Safety Measures to Take at Home after Going Out

Remember, masks are not foolproof and offer limited protection from the virus, but for the time being they are one of the best ways to cut down on transmission. COVID preventive methods should also include frequent handwashing, the cleaning of high touch surfaces, avoiding people who are sick, and if you are experiencing COVID symptoms or believe you have been exposed, contact your doctor or healthcare provider about getting tested. Find out more information about local COVID-19 testing in your area, including free testing.

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