More people are out and about as various provinces, parks and properties start to reopen, making proper PPE use all the more important.
Wearing personal protective equipment isn’t mandatory for healthy people during the pandemic, but health officials say it could help prevent the spread of COVID-19 — if it’s used properly.
A Saskatoon nurse said she doesn’t wear PPE outside of the hospital, but has a reminder for people who do.
“Sometimes, masks provide false security, so just be aware of that,” said Gail Kizlyk, a registered nurse at the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.
There are plenty of ways to mess with the additional security masks are meant to provide.
A quick adjustment of your mask or scratch of that oh-so-irritating itch in your nose could contaminate your face and fingers.
“If you do feel that you’re going to have more protection with a mask, go ahead and wear a mask, but don’t be touching the mask. Don’t be adjusting your mask,” Kizlyk said.
If you need to eat or drink, remove your mask and put on a clean one after, she said.
“If a mask is going to irritate your face and is going to cause you more to touch your face, it’s kind of defeating the whole purpose,” she said.
“If you choose not to wear a mask, social distance and be well when you’re out.”
The right fit
Another tip from Health Canada that might make you say, “Well, duh”: wear masks correctly.
If you let out a whopper of a sneeze and your mask is only covering your mouth, it’s not going to do much to prevent the spread of potentially infectious respiratory droplets.
A properly fitting mask covers the mouth and nose and is snug, as loose openings are like an open door for germs.
Health Canada says homemade masks should be made of at least two layers of a tightly woven fabric, like cotton.
Toss or wash
If speaking moistly has made your mask damp, it’s time to change it.
Kizlyk said you should clean your hands before and after tossing your mask in the trash or laundry.
What about gloves?
It’s going to be a no from the Saskatchewan government.
The province says gloves, gowns and goggles only need to be worn in health care settings.
“I don’t think gloves are necessary for the public to wear,” Kizlyk said. “Again, I think it’s a false sense of security.”
By infrequently changing or sanitizing your glove, you could contaminate the objects you touch.
“If you’re wearing … those same gloves, all those germs are going from thing to thing to thing,” Kizlyk said.
The best protection
Officials say the best form of protection is what we’ve been hearing from the start: distance from others, only go out when it’s necessary, avoid mass gatherings and wash your hands with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
“I’m a Backstreet Boys fan,” Kizlyk said. “So choose any Backstreet Boys song and do your nice 20 seconds there.”
For a full list of dos and don’ts when wearing a mask from Health Canada, click here.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
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