Last month, face coverings in the UK were made compulsory when using public transport and soon it will be essential to wear them when out shopping and in supermarkets too. For many people, face masks are a new concept; unless you work in a hospital or have travelled to a particularly polluted country; you might not have experienced wearing one before. So you might find that wearing them on a daily basis is a little difficult to get used to.
There are two options; either you avoid public transport and shops altogether, or you find a way to make your face mask more comfortable. The first isn’t a particularly viable option, and the second may seem impossible, but there are actually many ways you can do this.
Firstly, it may be tempting for you to priortise the design of your mask over the actual feel, but you will soon regret this, particularly if you have to commute to work using public transport every single day. Let’s face it, masks are not pretty, so you might as well focus on making sure they offer a degree of comfort instead.
Choosing the right material is extremely important; 100% cotton is generally preferred as it allows you to breathe, and traps less of the moisture which builds as a result of sweating. While on the topic of sweating, it’s important to note that you must wash your mask regularly. It would be useful to have a few masks at hand, so that you can alternate between them, allowing you to have access to a clean, fresh mask, every time you need to wear it.
Secondly, you must ensure that your mask fits well, so that you can minimise any potential discomfort. To correctly fit your mask, you want to make sure that it fits snugly around your face to prevent incoming or outgoing respiratory droplets, but at the same time, you need to make sure it’s not fitted too tightly; you do still need to breathe after all.
Additionally, as we are not used to wearing elastic around our ears, many people have complained about ear chafing as a result. If your mask is fitted too tightly it can tug on your ears, making them sore, especially if you have to wear your mask for prolonged time periods or on multiple occasions throughout the day.
A way to mitigate this would be to wear a headband with buttons, so that you can loop the elastic around those, instead of your ears. However, headbands aren’t for everyone, so you could potentially just place a piece of fabric between your ears and the elastic, for extra support. Finally, you might want to try a tie-on mask, to remove the irritation behind your ears completely.
Whether you opt for a store bought mask, or you prefer the DIY option, make sure you follow the guidance above to get a mask that is right for you. Remember, everyone is different so it might be a bit of trial and error at first, but it’s worth it to ensure you are safe, and that you keep others around you safe too.