Nine hacks to make wearing a mask less annoying
Nine simple ways to take the pain out of wearing a mask.
As face masks have become the new normal across Victoria, many of us are grappling with foggy glasses, sore ears and skin irritations. We know masks are a necessary part of the battle against COVID-19 (along with good hand hygiene, social distancing and staying home and getting tested if unwell), but now that all Victorians are required to wear a face covering when outside the house, how can we minimise the discomfort? Here are some simple solutions to address the most common mask problems.
And remember, no matter what sort of mask or face covering you choose, to be effective it must cover both your mouth and nose.
Experts say facial hair may reduce your mask’s effectiveness.
Nine hacks to make wearing a mask less painful
My glasses fog up
The vexed issue of how to avoid foggy glasses is something surgeons have been dealing with for decades. A paper from the Royal College of Surgeons of England reveals that bespectacled theatre staff favour washing glasses with soapy water and letting them air dry. The idea is that the soap leaves a thin film on the glasses that prevents misting. Some say using a liquid hand soap works better than dishwashing liquid.
Another way to stop steamed-up glasses is to fold a strip of tissue or fabric to one centimetre wide and run it along inside the top edge of your mask to absorb moisture as you breathe. If you’re wearing a surgical mask, choose one with a wire insert along the top and pinch it tightly across your nose to minimise fogging. Alternatively use surgical tape to create a tighter seal across the top of the mask.
If you’re making your own masks, consider sewing bendable pipe cleaners or twist ties into the top of the mask to achieve the same result.
And, if you do wear glasses, remember to clean and disinfect them frequently.
My mask doesn’t fit properly
If your mask gapes at the sides, dentist Olivia Cuid has the answer. Her 60-second video on how to make a mask fit better has gone viral on TikTok.
Here’s her hack:
- Fold your mask in half lengthwise.
- Grab an ear loop and tie with a knot as close as you can to the mask. Repeat for the other side.
- Open the mask. You’ll see a little opening on the sides next to the ear loop, which you’ll then tuck in to make a better fit.
I have a beard. What should I do?
It might not be what those who have cultivated a full-flowing beard or lockdown designer stubble want to hear, but the best advice is that facial hair may reduce the effectiveness of wearing a mask.
While many Australian medicos have taken a razor to the problem, others suggest using a government-approved face shield or a bandana as a mask alternative.
I find it difficult to breathe
The Department of Health and Human Services says it’s okay not to wear a mask in public if you have a medical condition such as asthma, which makes it difficult to breathe with a mask.
Asthma Australia surveyed 236 asthmatics of whom 69 per cent found masks made it harder for them to breathe. It suggests getting a medical note and carrying it with you when you leave home, but warns of “that sideways stare from a stranger, friend or colleague that screams, ‘I’m judging you’ ”.
Asthma Australia advises to avoid judging people who are not wearing a mask. They could have a medical condition that prevents it.