Simple face mask hacks for comfort, safety

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Posted at 5:00 AM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 08:17:54-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new study shows speech droplets can linger in the air for eight to 14 minutes. That means simply talking in a confined space could spread the novel coronavirus.

It's further support for the use of facial coverings.

For those who don't work in health care, wearing a mask can be a big adjustment.

But there are steps you can take to make sure you're wearing one the right way.

First of all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing facial coverings that cover both the mouth and nose.

After putting on a mask, pinch the fabric up around your nose and tug on the bottom so the mask is covering as much of your face as possible.

A snug fit is essential since scientists say gaps open up access for germs to enter and exit.

Here are some common fit issues and how to fix them:

Mask too big: Try criss-crossing the loops before hooking them around the ears.

If you need a mask for a little one and are unable to purchase a child's size, try a clothespin at the back of the head to tighten the mask.

Surgical masks can also be folded and taped to fit smaller faces. Decorating masks with kids could make them more excited to wear the coverings.

Too much pressure on ears: Hook the loops to a paper clip so the mask can be fastened around the back of the head.

Sew buttons on the sides of a baseball cap, and attach the ear loops there instead.

Purchase an "Ear Ease" device made by a University of Kansas student.

Purchase a pre-made headband with buttons sewn on from Etsy or Amazon.

Glasses fogging up: Pinch fabric up around nose, then place glasses over the mask. The nose piece should help block fogginess.

Apply a single drop of dish soap to both sides of the lenses, rub it in and then rinse the soap off with water. The same trick works with shaving cream. An optometrist explained to NPR it's supposed to leave behind a transparent layer that protects glasses from temperature changes.

Finally, be sure to take your mask off properly. Assume the portion covering your face is contaminated with germs and use only the straps to remove the mask. Then place it into the wash.

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