How to use the mask: the dangerous mistakes to avoid that we often make

No to the masks worn on the arm or in the pocket when they are not in use and no to the too prolonged use, beyond half a day, of the same mask, which should not be “overestimated: the distance must still be maintained”. Remember that even surgical products are not all the same, certified products, “like those that the government distributes in schools, are even safer”.

The most frequent mistakes

This was specified by Paolo D’Ancona, epidemiologist at the Higher Institute of Health, who provides Adnkronos Salute with “instructions for use” and lists the most frequent mistakes made by Italians struggling with this mandatory protection. “The most common errors – he explains – are fundamentally linked to the positioning of the mask that must cover from the nose to the chin. The second is to overestimate this device which must always be accompanied by the other measures, in particular by the spacing. This is because another sensitive point we have are the eyes. And the mask does not protect our eyes “.

The preservation of the mask

Another critical element “the conservation of the mask when we are not wearing it. It must be taken into account that it can become contaminated. Keeping it on your arm, in your pocket or bag is not hygienic. It would be useful to carry a small plastic bag, such as that of frozen foods, with you. where to store it, folded with the part that goes over the mouth inside “, advises the epidemiologist. Obviously, if you have been in a more crowded place, such as public transport, “the external surface could be more contaminated. In this case, you can keep it in the bag and use it only on public transport, using another one for other environments. “. It is good to keep in mind that “the more crowded places you go, the more the mask can be contaminated and must be changed”, says D’Ancona.

The time of use

But pay attention to the time of use: “a surgical mask, brought by a doctor, should be used 4 hours at the most. In a community situation it can be used even half a day. The same goes for washable masks”, continues the expert of the ‘Iss. The disposable ones, then, “must be disposed of in unsorted waste, taking care to ensure that they are well closed in the bag. We also protect the environment by preventing them from being dispersed on the street”. Furthermore, surgical masks are not all the same: “Where I want to feel safer – adds D’Ancona – it is better to use a certified mask that can be recognized by the code ‘RN14683’ in accordance with Uni, printed on the box”. For the Ffp2 and Ffp3 masks, it is important to “remember to use those without the valve and do not think that this mask is more powerful and you can avoid spacing”, says D’Ancona, stressing that “these masks should be used by doctors.

The various types

For citizens, in the use of communities, a good surgical mask is better. “Even more practical are the ‘instructions’ for the use of masks in everyday life that the ISS offers on the site, with the aim of informing more hygienic to wear and wash them, in the case of reusable ones. Here are the rules. Before putting on the mask, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 40-60 seconds or perform hand hygiene with alcoholic solution for at least 20-30 seconds; wear the mask by touching only the elastics or the ties and taking care not to touch the inner part; position the mask correctly by adhering the upper underwire to the nose and bringing it under the chin; make sure you have worn it in the right direction (for example in the masks the colored part is the external part).

Daily operations

During use, if you have to move the mask, always handle it using rubber bands or ties; if the mask is touched, hand hygiene must be repeated; do not put the mask in your pocket and do not place it on furniture or shelves. When removing, always handle the mask using the rubber bands or ties; wash your hands with soap and water or perform hand hygiene with an alcohol solution. In the case of reusable masks, proceed with washing at 60 degrees with common detergent or according to the manufacturer’s instructions, if available; sometimes the manufacturers also indicate the maximum number of washes possible without reducing the performance of the mask; after handling a used face mask, carry out hand washing or hygiene.

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