How many times can you use the same face mask to protect us against the coronavirus? Unfortunately the answer is just one. This is ensured in the Action Guide for People with Chronic Health Conditions and Elderly People in a Confinement Situation, published by the Ministry of Health.
In this document, it is specified that masks used to protect against the new coronavirus cannot be reused and what should cover the mouth and nose, so that there is no space left in the face. Likewise, it is explained that you have to wash your hands before putting it on and after taking it off.
Although since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic, national and international health authorities have recommended the use of masks only for infected people and for those who are in contact with a patient, last week the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, acknowledged that the Government is considering the possibility of recommend its use to the entire population.
Therefore, and while said recommendation is made or not official, which will not be mandatory if there is not enough capacity for all citizens to have access to masks, the Ministry of Health advises washing hands before using them.
In addition, it highlights the importance of avoid touching the mask while wearing it and, if they do, wash their hands with soap and water; change it when used, take it off by the tapes on the back and throw it into a garbage can. Afterwards, you have to wash your hands with soap and water.
Steps to put on the mask
1. The first thing is wash your hands with soap and water or sanitizer gel, following the steps set by the health authorities.
two. We start from the basis that the mask is fine, but it should be reviewed previously to check for tears or holes. To do this, it is held by the rubber bands and checked against the light. Once this is done, we could place it.
3. Important: you have to make sure that it covers us well, and adjust the upper part to the shape of our nose.
Steps to remove the mask
Four. To remove it you have to go to the sides and not to the center. To do this, it must be held again by the side rubbers and pull it forward making sure that it is kept away from clothing and face at all times, in case there is any contaminated area.
5. The last step is throw it away and wash your hands as a final step.
With this video of the Madrid Firefighters you can understand more graphically how to proceed with the mask:
Gloves are not advisable
On the other hand, in this same Health guide it is explained that putting gloves on when going out does not prevent contagion, since using them for «a long time» causes them to become dirty and contaminated, which increases the risk of infection, in the case of unconsciously touching the face.
In addition, the department headed by Salvador Illa advises that removing gloves without contaminating your hands «is not easy», since requires a specific technique that not all people know how to carry out. For this reason, the Ministry of Health ensures that adequate and frequent hand hygiene is a «more effective» measure that the use of gloves, although it is advisable, those that are disposable, when buying fruits and vegetables, as has always been done.
«Incorrect use of gloves can create a feeling of false protection and put those who carry them at greater risk of infection, thus contributing to protection, «says Health in the recently published guide.