Masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) have become part of our lives this past year, otherwise known as ‘the new normal’. Face masks and other PPE are an important part of preventing the spread of COVID-19 (along with social distancing, washing your hands, staying home when you feel unwell and testing for COVID-19 if you develop symptoms.)
Vaccines are just around the corner, however face masks, especially where you can’t physically distance from others, will be a part of our lives for a while yet.
When should I wear a mask?
In NSW, it’s mandatory to wear a mask in certain places. These are when you are on public transport or in a public transport area waiting area and at airports and on domestic flights. It’s strongly recommended to wear a mask when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres of physical distance from others. For more info about when to wear a mask in NSW, click here to visit this link.
What type of mask should I wear?
The type of face mask does matter. As does wearing it correctly. Generally, there are two types of face masks which are endorsed by public health experts. Single use masks, the type you would see in a hospital, are common but should only be used once. NSW Health offers a guide to making your own cloth masks.
Reusable cloth masks, which are now sold widely by retailers, can look stylish, but they’re only effective when the outer later is water resistant, and the middle layer and inner layer is high grade cotton. Reusable cloth masks are less effective when they’re damp, so be sure to have more than one. It’s worth noting that face shields, scarfs and bandanas are not recommended for use as face masks.
Wear, remove and dispose of your mask correctly
Wearing a face mask correctly is as important as wearing the correct face mask.
Knowing how to wear, remove and dispose of masks (or wash them) is not as straight forward as it seems. We’ve watched a range of ‘how to wear a face mask’ videos on YouTube. A couple are linked below.
Circumstances when someone might not be able to use masks
A few circumstances outlined by NSW Health where people might not be able to use face masks include people who are deaf or hard of hearing where seeing the mouth is essential for communication, people who have trouble breathing while wearing a mask such as asthma, or who have trauma associated with face coverings.
You can always contact the team here at Positive Life NSW if you have any questions about COVID-19, face masks and living with HIV. Call us on (02( 9206-2117, 1800 245 677 (freecall outside metro) or drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
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