The mask wearing thing will be with us for a long while, I think.
People around me seem to have generally accepted this fact and are carrying on to the best of their abilities. I mean, most people are sick to death living with so many restrictions so if they’re given a chance to *do* something besides sit in the house, but are forced to wear a mask, they do it.
We do it. Wear the masks, that is.
But I wonder if people are applying proper hygiene practices to their mask wearing habits.
There are some elderly neighbours who have been observed reusing their masks without ever washing them. When asked about that, they looked confused. I am not convinced they comprehend why this is not advisable.
I know someone who developed a rash from the masks. The doctor prescribed a cream and told her to wear a shield without a mask. Shields are generally accepted by some, but not all essential stores, so she went back to masks and experimented with different types of material.
The disposable, medical masks bother her the most I think. The cotton ones as well. The hemp and silk ones bother her the least. There are other types she’s tried with mixed results.
But one thing she does consistently is wash the masks after every single use, no matter how short a time she wore them.
Main reason, besides common sense?
When she used the shield without a mask, the inside of that shield got really dirty in a very short time. Spitty and spotty. Gross.
The best example to illustrate just how quickly dirt/germs accumulate is to compare it to eyeglasses.
I wear contacts but use readers for close-up reading (my phone, books). I’m continuously wiping my readers of spots even though they are nowhere near my mouth.
When I wear my regular glasses (instead of contacts) it’s worse. Constant wiping and cleaning.
Now, imagine what a face covering, such as a mask, in front of your lower part of your face is exposed to. The breathing orifices expel droplets into the air where they dissipate if no mask is worn. These droplets coming out of our nostrils, but especially out of our mouths, contain all sorts of particles which may include germs such as those that may cause cold/flu/covid symptoms…
The masks will contain these droplets from floating around the air space in front of you. But. If you wear that mask even just for a short amount of time, consider where those droplets will go.
Here’s a hint: onto the skin on your face.
Sure, the masks may absorb some of them, but the mask touches your skin. Some people with sensitive skin will react with a rash, or worse.
It can be a problem. Which is why it’s important to wash your masks and not reuse them until they are clean and dry. (Also wash your face, especially at night before bed. And change the pillow cases often if you have a rash on your face.)
My daughter brought two masks to school when it was still open. She’d wear the first one till lunch, and after lunch, she’d put on a fresh mask. Upon returning home, both masks went into the red basket (red=stop) until someone washed them. The clean masks then went into the green basket (green=go).
We have enough masks now which allows for all of us to wear multiple clean ones in a day. Plus we have medical disposable extra ones in the car. (Never mind that we rarely wear masks now because no one leaves the house anymore. Boo.)
As far as the person with the skin rash is concerned – it hasn’t been easy but diligent hygiene practices have helped manage her condition. That, and a prescribed lotion.
Happy Tuesday! It’s snowing here in Toronto. I’m not sure how I feel about that. See you in the comments.