By: Pooja Shah (@Pooja_Shahnanigans)
“Phone, Keys, Wallet, Face Mask”
This daily mental checklist has become the new norm before leaving the house when necessary.
A trend common to ravers and cosplay communities, face masks have become a staple (and even required) item for everyday wear. By wearing a face mask, you are applying a common-sense physical application barrier to your face. This in and of itself will help slow the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a mask reduces risk: and as a society, we are obligated to do our part.While wearing a mask does not necessarily protect the wearer from contamination, it prevents you from contaminating others should you unknowingly be asymptomatic.
It is your responsibility to wear a Face Mask to slow the spread: It’s not about “Me;” its about “We.” By wearing a Face Mask, you could be saving another life: likely someone who is elderly, or immunocompromised.
Wearing a mask reduces the concentration of virus particles that can be inhaled from respiratory droplets, which in turn reduces the transmission of COVID-19, but masks can also carry the virus. Washing your mask regularly is important to ensure optimal effectiveness. The CDC suggests washing your mask after every use if possible.
Detergents with bleach-like compounds or other active disinfecting ingredients should be used when washing masks. Machine washing is optimal, and the material of your face mask will determine the temperature of the water. Fabric masks should be washed in the warmest possible water that the fabric will tolerate.
The World Health Organization’s specifications state: temperature should be at least 60 degrees Celsius [140 degrees Fahrenheit]. You can also disinfect masks by ironing or putting them in an oven for 20 minutes at about 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
If hand washing is your only option, lathering the masks with soap and scrubbing them for at least 20 seconds with warm to hot water is ideal Always dry your mask on the highest possible heat the fabric will allow. Again, this will depend on what material was used to construct your mask.
Other Common-Sense Facts About Face Masks:
- Fabric Face masks have differing ability to filter pathogens. The tighter the weave of the fabric, the more likely it is to trap a droplet containing a virus. Do some research about the type of fabric you are purchasing and look into fabrics with anti-microbial properties.
- Fabric Masks are machine washable so they can be reused making them more affordable and sustainable than one-time use disposable or surgical masks.
- When purchasing a face mask, consider the length of time you will be wearing the mask, and the comfort of the strap. Some elastic draw-strings only reach around ears while others reach around your head and are adjustable.
- You can layer a fabric mask on top of a surgical or other type of mask for additional filtering. (Note: Does not apply to N95 masks)
Pooja Shah is an LA-Based IT Consultant and the FestivalAddicts Website monkey. When she’s not posting articles, getting sponsors, or headbanging to the latest Lost Lands Compilation Album, you can follow her festival adventures on Instagram @Pooja_Shahnanigans