Here's how to wear mask, gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic
EDMONTON -- More and more people are wearing masks when they leave their home to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, but not everyone may be wearing them correctly.
On Monday, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw recommended wearing a mask when it was not possible to keep a physical distance of at least two metres to avoid presymptomatic or asymptomatic transmission.
For those wearing cloth masks, she suggested washing hands before and after because the mask could become contaminated on the outside, washing it after every use and handling with care.
Chris Sikora, the Edmonton Zone's lead medical officer of health, echoed Hinshaw's recommendations.
"You should do hand hygiene before you wear any mask; that’s an important aspect of it. Make sure you have a good fit is an important thing. Making sure when you take it off you remove the mask carefully, of course, and then if you are going to launder it, make sure you place it in an environment it can be quickly laundered or stored until a time it can be laundered safely."
Hinshaw and Sikora added that wearing a mask may also help prevent people from touching their faces.
Erika MacIntyre, a doctor at the Misericordia Community Hospital, told CTV News Edmonton all masks – N95, surgical or homemade – get contaminated "very easy."
"It's even easy for us in the hospital. You forget to touch something and then you touch your mask and then you touch your face.
"Even here we've even re-evaluated our practices, more frequent hand washing in between, making sure everything is covered and even having a buddy system," MacIntyre said.
So what's the right way to wear a mask? Dr. Sikora said: "Make sure you have a good fit, no gaping holes at the side. Make sure you have a decent seal around your nose, your mouth and side of your face as well the bottom of your face. Make sure it's good material that does block the particles themselves."
Gloves are not recommended in Alberta yet. Sikora said that's because they haven't shown to be a "high benefit" and do not replace hand hygiene.
MacIntyre stressed the need to follow all recommendations, such as good hygiene, physical distancing and staying home, even if you're wearing PPE.
"I think the bottom line is don’t develop that false sense of security so you still want to be diligent with the other practices and recommendations."