COVID-19: How to wear your mask
June 6, 2020 | 6:58 PM
by Times News Service
Doctors have provided advice on how protective masks should be worn and have also provided guidelines on the different types of masks available.

Muscat: Doctors in Oman have asked people to maintain proper hygiene while wearing masks, and to properly dispose them after use to stop the spread of potential infection to others.

With the wearing of masks mandatory in public places to reduce COVID-19 infections in Oman, doctors have provided advice on how protective masks should be worn and have also provided guidelines on the different types of masks available.

“The surgical mask has two sides: the outer side usually comes in colour, and the inner side is usually white,” said Dr Abdullah Al Qayoodhi, a consultant on infectious diseases and immunology at the Royal Hospital. “The top of the mask normally has hard metal to shape it according to your nose, and the bottom is usually a soft side.”

“Before wearing a surgical mask, you have to wash your hands,” added Al Qayoodhi. “Grab it from the sides, and wear it, and then pull it down. Then, shape the top area of the mask according to your nose and to your face. Before removing the surgical mask, you have to once again wash your hands. You must grasp the surgical mask from the sides and then dump it in the waste bin. After that, you have to wash your hands again.”

Dr Rohil Raghavan, the regional CEO for VPS Oman, which includes hospitals such as Lifeline and Burjeel, said the standard surgical masks worn by most people are not to be worn again once they are removed. However, other masks could be worn again, once they'd been washed.

“A lot of people ask me whether it is safe to again wear a surgical mask after it has been removed,” he said. “The answer to this is no, because the mask is supposed to stop infected fluids from spreading. The inside of the mask collects those infected fluids, so if you wear it again, you are exposing yourself to possible infection, which might have intensified after coming into contact with microbes in the atmosphere.

“There are three or four main types of mask: the surgical mask has to be worn once and then thrown away, but the N95 and KN95 masks that many people wear can be re-used,” he added. “However, they must be washed on a regular basis. In the case of these three masks, make sure you pull the loops safely behind your ears and make sure they are safely secured.”

“For every day normal use, the surgical mask is more than enough,” he explained. “But if you are going to visit someone who coughs a lot, it is best to wear the N95 or KN95 mask because they are a lot more secure when it comes to stopping fluids from being transmitted from one person to the next. COVID-19 is a disease that spreads through person-to-person transmission, so wearing a mask when in public is a must. If you don’t, you are risking your life and those around you. Please wash these kinds of masks regularly”

Raghavan added that there was a fourth type of mask – one that needed to be tied around the face, and said this was particularly good for those who regularly wore face coverings as part of their daily dress.

“The advantage of this mask is that it will dissuade you from touching your face often as if you regularly touch your face – which we do absent-mindedly – without knowing where our hands have been, then it could lead to more chances of infection. Such masks are great for those who wear face or head coverings as they will not interfere with them. You can first wear your head covering and put this mask over it. Make sure it is properly tied so that you are protected from others’ fluids.”

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