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posted by: LIT First Aid on: February 10, 2022

Image via Afif Kusuma


Wearing a face mask has been commonplace since 2020. However, the best practices surrounding face masks, including when to wear them and which type to wear, are constantly changing. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best, most up-to-date practices when it comes to masking up during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Opt for Medical Over Cloth Masks

Though cloth masks were once encouraged, experts have changed their tune and are now saying that medical masks are the way to go. With the surge of cases caused by the omicron variant, it became clear to medical professionals that cloth masks should be swapped for three-ply surgical masks, N95 respirators, and KN94 and KN95 masks. Why? It all comes down to their effectiveness at filtering droplets and particles. N95 respirators, along with KN94 and KN95 masks, are considered the most effective options as they are the tightest fitting and are known to filter up to 95% of particles. Surgical masks are looser fitting, but still effective owing to their three-ply construction. In contrast, cloth masks often do not have multiple layers or a filter, which ultimately makes them less effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19.


Fit Matters

No matter what type of mask you choose to wear during the pandemic, remember that the fit of the mask matters. How well your mask fits is directly related to how effective it will be at filtering droplets. A well-fitting mask should be comfortable, not require constant adjustment, and be large enough to completely cover your nose, mouth, and chin without gaps on the top, bottom, or sides. To improve the fit of a mask, you may wish to choose one with a flexible nosepiece or one with bands or ties that go around the back of the head as opposed to around the ears.


Wash/Dispose of Masks Regularly

Masks should be cared for properly to ensure they remain effective. Most medical masks, including surgical masks, N95 respirators, and KN94/KN95 masks are disposable and should only be used once. However, if used for a short period of time, such as a trip to the grocery store, you may reuse it until it is dirty. Cloth masks, on the other hand, are typically reusable and as such, should be washed regularly. As soon as your mask becomes dirty, damp, or damaged in some other way, it should be cleaned with hot, soapy water, either in a washing machine or by hand.


Stay safe throughout the pandemic by keeping up-to-date on the best face mask practices. We also recommend signing up for the L.I.T. First Aid and Lifeguard Training courses to learn important first aid skills and CPR that could save your life, in the event that a health issue arises, whether COVID-19-related or not.

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