The Southeastern Spine Institute

How Do I Wear a Mask Properly for COVID-19 Precautions?

Taking precautions, as directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helps slow the spread of COVID virus. These COVID-19 precautions include washing your hands frequently, staying at least six feet away from people who don’t live with you, avoiding large crowds or places that are poorly ventilated, and wearing a mask.

Wearing a face mask can protect both you and others, but only if it’s worn properly. Steps to correctly wear a mask include:

  • Washing your hands before and after touching your mask
  • Covering your nose, mouth and chin
  • Touching only bands or ties when taking off or putting on the mask
  • Adjusting the mask if needed against the sides of your face for proper fit
  • Making sure you can breathe and talk comfortably

Reusable masks should be at least two layers thick and should be washed after each use. Disposable masks should be thrown away whenever they’re damaged or dirty.

Why Are Masks So Important?

COVID-19 spreads from one person to another mainly through close contact. In such a situation, where one person has the virus:

  • Respiratory droplets can be spread to anyone within reach when an infected person breathes, talks or sneezes
  • Inhaling infected droplets can cause viral bacteria to contact the mucous membranes in your nose or mouth, leading to infection
  • In some cases, the virus even can spread through airborne transmission to or from people who are more than six feet away

A mask is a simple barrier that prevents the spread of infected droplets by both airborne transmission and close contact. It may protect you from being exposed to the virus by preventing you from breathing in tiny droplets spread by others. It also prevents spreading the virus from you to others — because you can still spread the virus even if you’re asymptomatic and don’t know that you’re infected.

What Are Some Mask-Wearing Mistakes?

You may have every intention of taking COVID-19 precautions, including wearing a mask, whenever you’re in public. But some common mistakes actually reduce the effectiveness of wearing a mask. Mask-wearing mistakes include:

  • Wearing the mask under your chin
  • Leaving your nose or mouth exposed
  • Sharing masks with others
  • Moving through a crowded room without your mask — for example, from your table at a restaurant to the restroom or exit

Avoid touching your mask or the mask worn by your child. If you find that you’re constantly adjusting your mask, look for a different mask or an alternate brand that fits better.

Who Needs to Wear a Mask for COVID-19 Precautions?

Everyone who is age two or older should wear a mask in public. There aren’t many exceptions, but children under two and those who have trouble breathing don’t have to wear a mask. If you’re caring for someone in your home who has COVID-19, wear a mask even in your home.

Don’t let fear of exposure to COVID-19 keep you from getting the care you need for back problems. The Southeastern Spine Institute takes extensive COVID-19 precautions to keep you safe. Call if you have any questions about virtual visits. When it comes to protecting you from the virus, the Southeastern Spine Institute has the answers for you.