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Covid-19:wearing a mask to protect yourself

Covid-19:wearing a mask to protect yourself

As "deconfinement" approaches, wearing a mask may become essential to combat the spread of Covid-19. What mask should I wear? What are the actions to adopt? Here is a practical guide to make good use of your protective mask.

Wearing a mask, yes! But which one?

Protective masks… a sensitive subject of this coronavirus epidemic. After lacking, the masks seem to be back on the market. And with the announcement of an imminent "deconfinement", wearing a protective mask will quickly become essential. So, what are the different types of masks to protect against the virus?

  • Respiratory protection mask (FFP2, FFP3, hull or duckbill) is intended for nursing staff. This type of mask offers two-way protection, as it filters inhaled and expelled air. FFP masks perform best.
  • The "surgical" type mask is intended for the general public. It retains the particles emitted by the wearer and helps limit the spread of a virus such as Covid-19.
  • The "barrier" or "alternative" mask (UNS1 and UNS2) , made of fabric according to AFNOR recommendations. These "Do it yourself masks » offer additional protection to the general public, in addition to respecting barrier gestures.

Good protective mask practices.

If wearing a mask is very useful in limiting the spread of the virus, you still need to know how to put it on, take it off, clean it, etc. To be effective against possible contamination, here are some recommendations for optimal use of the mask.

  • To put on and take off your mask . Before touching your mask to put it on, wash or sanitize your hands. Grab your mask by the elastics, in the right direction. Attach your mask and adjust it if necessary. Remove the mask by the tabs, without touching the exposed surface. Throw away your disposable mask or wash the reusable mask, then wash your hands.
  • The duration of use of a mask . The FFP-type mask has an eight-hour lifespan. The surgical mask has a lifespan of three to four hours. They are single use. The homemade cloth mask has a lifespan of twenty to thirty uses.
  • Care for the cloth mask . According to the ANSM opinion revised on April 21, 2020, a used mask must be machine washed with conventional detergent, at 60 degrees, for at least 30 minutes. Drying is possible in the dryer or in the open air, before steam ironing at a temperature that does not damage the fabric.

Five mistakes to avoid with your mask!

  • Wear a mask that does not cover the nose
  • Wear a mask that does not cover the chin
  • Touching your mask once put on and adjusted to your face
  • Dangling your mask at neck level, for example when talking, drinking or snacking
  • Reuse a mask after removing it

How to make an effective mask yourself?

If wearing a mask is not yet compulsory, it is strongly recommended. But due to the shortage, many organizations have shared tutorials and patterns for making masks with the means at hand. Here are some tips for making your "homemade" masks.

  • Above all, use patterns recommended and published by the health authorities (those from AFNOR and Grenoble University Hospital are very reliable).
  • Choose tight fabrics like viscose, polyester or thin fleece. Non-woven fabrics, such as microfiber, are the most protective. Superimpose two or three coats to avoid the projection of droplets as much as possible.
  • The smallest hole makes the mask totally ineffective, so be careful.
  • Ideally plan on having three masks per day:one for the morning, one for the afternoon, and one back-up.

Think about it:mutuals are mobilizing to support their members during the pandemic and confinement, in particular thanks to their service offer such as teleconsultation or psychological assistance services.

Wearing a mask is not an infallible protection. To be effective, barrier gestures must be maintained (respecting a distance of one meter, sneezing and coughing into your elbow, washing your hands regularly, etc.), even while wearing a mask, whatever its category.