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Your face mask only protects you if you do it every day

At this point in the coronavirus pandemic, it is clear that wearing a mask, along with social distancing and regular hand washing, is instrumental in stopping the spread of COVID-19. But just because you cover your face every time you go out in public doesn’t mean you’re completely safe. According to new research, your cloth mask only protects you if you wash it every day. Read on to find out more, and for more guidance on this, the CDC says you’re probably not washing the mask enough.

The finding comes from a recent meta-analysis published in BMJ Open, which analyzed data from a 201

5 study on the effectiveness of face cloth linings against seasonal flu, cold viruses known as rhinoviruses and genetically similar coronaviruses. The original study found that cloth masks “were not as effective as surgical masks in a hospital setting and that they potentially increased the risk of infection when compared to the absence of a mask.” But the latest team of researchers, from the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, believes the way the cloth masks were washed in the original study made them more likely to infect the person wearing them.

“Both tissue and surgical masks should be considered ‘contaminated’ after use”, Raina MacIntyre, PhD, who led the study, said in a statement. “Unlike surgical masks, which are disposed of after use, cloth masks are reused. While it may be tempting to use the same mask for multiple consecutive days or to wash or clean it quickly, our research suggests that this increases the risk of contamination “.

The study also concluded that there was statistically no difference in protection for healthcare workers who wore cloth masks instead of surgical masks. “We found that if the cloth masks were washed in the hospital laundry room, they were as effective as a surgical mask,” MacIntyre said.

“While it is unlikely that anyone in the general public wearing a cloth mask will come in contact with the same amount of pathogens as a healthcare worker in a high-risk ward, we would still recommend daily washing of cloth masks in the community.” MacIntyre explained.

For more information about the mask maintenance errors you are still making, read on. And if you think you’ve got the virus, know that if you can’t smell these 2 things, you may have a COVID.


You are not washing the mask in hot water.

black mask in the metal basin
black mask in the metal basin

Save cold water for your delicates. Unless the washing instructions for the cloth mask say otherwise, you should clean it with warm water. “We know that if immersed in a water temperature of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, immersion in hot water alone would probably be enough” to kill the coronavirus, Rand McClain, DO, medical director of LCR Health, said earlier Better life. And to find out more about when you need your PPE, here’s the one situation where you don’t wear the mask, but you should be.


You are forgetting to use detergent.

Put the detergent in the washing machine
Put the detergent in the washing machine

If you’ve used baking soda or other non-detergent laundry additives due to allergies or sensitive skin, it may not be cutting. “The soap is able to break down the capsids (cell walls) of the coronavirus, effectively killing it,” explains McClain. “Follow the normal instructions on a washing machine as if you were washing your other clothes.”

McClain notes that while regular detergent should be enough to keep the mask clean, using OxyClean or other hydrogen peroxide products can bring the mask closer to complete sterilization. And for more behavior that puts you at risk, familiarize yourself with the things you do every day that put you at COVID risk.


You’re using bleach.

great value bleach bottles from walmart
great value bleach bottles from walmart

Despite being the power of cleansing it is, using bleach at full strength isn’t ideal when it comes to washing the mask. The New York Times reports that harsh chemicals such as bleach and hydrogen peroxide can degrade the fibers of the fabric in the mask over time, making them less effective at containing viral particles.


You’re microwaving your mask to disinfect it.

white hand opening door of the microwave
white hand opening door of the microwave

Sure, it might be great for cleaning sponges, but using your home microwave to zap your mask isn’t a good disinfection strategy. In fact, if your mask has a metal wire inside on the nose strip, doing so can also be a fire hazard.

However, the good news is that there are other options besides throwing them in the washing machine, including baking them in the oven for 30 minutes at 160 degrees Fahrenheit or holding them on boiling water for 10 minutes, McClain says. And for another sign to be aware of, this “kinky” symptom means you have COVID, not the flu.

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