Enforcing people wearing a face mask in public is only half the battle to stop the spread of coronavirus — what happens when they’re not worn properly? Some people have been seen wearing their masks across their mouths and not their nose, while others have it dangling on their ear when it’s not in use. Both of these scenarios can counteract the benefits of wearing a mask in the first place.
According to the CDC, If your mask makes contact with other parts of your body (like touches your shirt or your hands) this could lead to cross-contamination. “Used improperly, and the masks actually become vehicles for spreading germs,” according to Sarasota Memorial Nurse Jennifer Sorensen, RN. Since the outside of your mask is considered dirty, Sorensen says that you should be washing your hands before handling and disposing of a face covering.
You might still be wondering: why should we be covering our mouth and our nose? Well, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that the coronavirus infects the cells in the nose much more easily than those in the throat and lungs. The reason why you should cover your entire nose bridge is the same reason why you should ensure your mask is fitted properly. Loose masks can create open barriers that will allow germs to sneak their way in and out.
Additionally, the CDC explains how cloth face coverings should be washed after each use. Masks can carry bacteria, including the coronavirus, which can transmit to yourself or someone else. So, if you’re going to wear your mask, the least you could do for yourself and others are to wear it properly.