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Monday, May 18, 2020

When Wearing that Fashion Accessory, Get It Right!

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The importance of properly wearing face masks

When in-the-know fashion gurus were mulling over predictions for the hottest “accessory” last year, it’s pretty clear that nobody dreamed it would be a facemask. Yet, today the cloth face covering or facemask is a sizzling seller, widely promoted.

You can select masks in colors and prints to coordinate with your summer ensembles. Maybe even choose a purse, shoes and a mask to match. Perhaps you’ll opt to show your support for your favorite college or NFL team or sport, even a classic camo design. Or consider something geared for a family look, the four-pack in child sizes available from entertainment retailer Disney, designs with their iconic “Star Wars” and mouse themes.

Style mavens who want a more upscale look can purchase (at a more upscale price) a fashion scarf, cleverly repurposed, repackaged or redesigned as a face covering.

The creation of face coverings has become a cottage industry for home sewers who market their wares on Facebook, Etsy, eBay and other internet platforms. Many indicate they are donating masks when someone makes a purchase.

Just last month Caddo Parish and the city of Shreveport passed out more than 110,000 reusable cloth masks donated by Hanes, the underwear and clothing manufacturer. So we’re hoping that with such widespread distribution, these masks are being used correctly since this is one fashion accessory that can actually contribute to your health, not just your appearance.

Lisa Stamper is director of infection prevention and control at Willis-Knighton Health System. She manages a team of experts throughout the health giant who are vigilant about cleanliness, sanitation and prevention of the spread of diseases at locations that care for people with infectious diseases throughout the year. So she finds it hard to understand why anyone would fail to venture out in public during a pandemic without a face covering.

“They are easy to make, so it doesn’t make sense that someone would not wear one in public,” Stamper says, emphasizing that it’s equally important to wear a face-covering correctly.

First, be sure you have one that fits your face well. One size may not fit all. For instance, a large man’s face will be bigger than a petite woman’s face. When wearing any face covering, the fit is critical. Stamper follows the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control, which she terms “the bible” for infection preventionists. She notes that a face covering should fit snugly but comfortably against the face.

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus. Since you breathe through your nose and your mouth, both should be covered to assure you’re not breathing in whatever is in the environment. That could be COVID-19, flu, the common cold virus or even pollen.

Even when wearing a face covering, one of the most important things you can do to gain protection from COVID-19 or any other contagious diseases is to wash your hands. “Handwashing is the number one way to prevent any transmittable disease,” Stamper says. “Plain old soap and water works just fine, provided you wash your hands long enough, about 20 seconds, and actually use the soap.”

Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and cover your nose and mouth with a mask, and you’ll gain extra protection during the pandemic.

When wearing a face covering, here are tips to ensure you get the greatest protection.


How To Place & Remove A Mask

• Always place your mask on your face and remove it by using the ear loops or ties.

• Adjust your mask to assure that your nose, mouth and chin are covered.

When To Wear A Mask

You are advised to wear a mask to protect you and others:

• Whenever you are in public settings with others outside your home. This includes while shopping in a store, visiting a hospital or doctor’s office, sitting in a classroom, meeting or any other place where others are present.

• If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

• If you have been tested for COVID-19 and do not yet have your results.

• If you are recovering from COVID-19 but have not yet been fully cleared by your physician.



• Be sure your mask covers the nose – almost up to the bridge of your nose, not just the tip of it.

• Be sure your mask covers your mouth and goes beneath your chin.

• Pull the mask on snugly to avoid any gaps around the edges.

• Adjust the metal nose bridge, if one is included on your mask.

• If a mask has ties, be sure all are tightly tied. A loose mask is not as effective as a snug one.

• Men with beards should consider shaving or tightly trimming facial hair for a better fit.

• Wash/sanitize your hands before and after removing your mask.


• Wear your mask below your chin. If it’s not covering your mouth and nose, it’s pointless.

• Dangle your mask from one ear loop. Again, you’re losing the effectiveness if it is not placed snugly over your mouth and nose.

• Place your mask on top of your head when not wearing it. Anything that is on top of your head will then be placed directly on your respiratory system intake when you put it back on.

• Touch the outside of your mask while wearing it.


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