The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently issued updated guidance for the use of masks for the general public during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have summarised their key recommendations, but if you would like to read the full report you can access it via their resource page here.
If you would like to view the current UK Government guidance on masks, this can be found here.
When should you wear a mask?
The WHO strongly encourages you to wear a mask in the following circumstances:
- If you have COVID-19 symptoms. In this circumstance, you should wear a mask, self-isolate and seek medical advice
- If you are in a public setting such as a supermarket, at work, social gatherings or in a place of worship.
- When using public transport. Please note that from 15 June 2020 in the UK you must wear a face covering on public transport.
- Where physical distancing cannot be achieved. This is especially important for people who have underlying medical conditions and are considered in a high risk category. For more information about high risk groups, please visit the NHS website here.
How do I wear a face covering safely?
The WHO have created an infographic to illustrate how to use your face covering.
- Clean your hands before touching your mask
- Inspect the mask for damage or if dirty
- Adjust the mask to your face without leaving gaps on the sides
- Cover your mouth, nose and chin
- Avoid touching the mask
- Clean your hands before removing the mask
- Remove the mask by the straps behind the ears
- Pull the mask away from your face
- Store the mask in a clean, resealable plastic bag if it is not dirty, wet, and you plan to re-use it
- Remove the mask by the straps when taking it out of the bag
- Wash the mask in soap or detergent, preferably with hot water, at least once a day
- Clean you hands after removing the mask
- Do not use a mask that looks damaged
- Do not wear a loose mask
- Do not wear a mask under the nose
- Do not remove the mask where there are people within 1 metre
- Do not use a mask that is difficult to breathe through
- Do not wear a dirty or wet mask
- Do not share your mask with others
It is important to note that face coverings should not be used as a substitute for physical distancing. Whilst wearing a face covering you should still physically distance yourself from other people whenever possible.
If you would like to make your own face covering but are unsure of how to do this, view the UK Government guidance on how to make a cloth face covering.