The nose knows: Tips for all mask-wearing superheroes to keep you and your loved ones safe

August 14, 2020
PHOTO: Getty Images

Wearing a mask or face covering is important for your child and family, and keeps your loved ones and community safe by helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Did you know certain activities like talking, laughing and singing generate respiratory secretions that are projected away from you and towards others? Yuck!

This is how many respiratory diseases spread. 

Covering your mouth and nose with a mask or face covering helps prevent the transmission of COVID-19 to others by blocking the spread of those secretions—and if we all do it together, it can make a huge impact in limiting community spread during the pandemic.

Some very young children may not be able to wear a mask, which makes it even more important that older children, teens and adults do their part to keep their family and friends safe.

It can be done and it can be fun. Superheroes wear masks—2020 is our chance to all be a superhero. For masking to be effective, we have to adopt and practice good habits to wear the mask or face covering consistently, correctly and safely. 

A few key points on wearing masks/face covering safely:

Clean hands, clean mask

Wash your hands thoroughly before putting on your mask to avoid contaminating it.  

Use a clean mask or face covering each time and store it in a clean dry place when not in use.

Discard disposable masks properly and wash reusable masks and face coverings after each use.

Avoid storing your mask or face covering in your car or other areas where it may get soiled, damaged or contaminated.

Always wash your hands thoroughly before taking off your mask or face covering and storing it, too.

“Hands off!” for safety

Hands are a big vector for transmitting germs, so once you put on your mask or face covering and adjust it with those washed hands, avoid touching it later.

A good rule of thumb to practice is to remember to keep your hands below your shoulders at all times, this way you are not tempted to touch your mask, your face or your eyes.

Remind teens and other children that once the mask or cover is on to stay “hands off” to keep from pulling at it and contaminating it.

If you take it off, pull on it, or pull it up and down, it makes the masking ineffective because your respiratory secretions get into the air through your nose and mouth.

The nose knows: Always cover the nose 

The mask should be above and covering the nose at all times. You breathe in virus through an uncovered nose and you breathe out respiratory secretions. 

A mask or face covering that is too small or one resting too far down on the chin can ride down while talking and expose the nose, so check the fit before you leave the house. Covering your nose is important to provide proper protection, so don’t be “nosy.”

Chin-up!

Avoid pulling the mask or face cover down to your chin. Not even for a minute. It becomes contaminated and it is no longer protective nor effective.

Keep your mask on the entire time you are out; this is especially important when you are in a doctor’s office, hospital, indoor public buildings or other high traffic and/or high-risk areas.

Superheroes always keep their mask on!

Once you have committed to these healthy habits, wearing the mask can be fun and easy.

Avoid close proximity to others who may not be wearing a mask. When in doubt, walk in another direction or stop and leave a large space to let them pass. And as always, continue social distancing, limiting non-essential activities, and practicing consistent good handwashing. 

Thank you, superheroes, for doing your part to help children, families and the community stay safe.

Post by:

Dr. Sara Rizvi