The recent rise in community transmission of COVID-19 in some parts of Australia means the time has come for us to get used to masks – either actually wearing them now or the idea that at some point we might be asked to do so.
As doctors, we had to start using masks during our training.
I can tell you it's something that you do get used to quickly. It just becomes a natural part of what you’re doing.
We had to get used to wearing them. And we had to learn how to use them properly.
It’s important to make sure you use a mask the right way. You need to take care in putting on and removing your mask to minimise your risk of any exposure to COVID-19.
That means washing your hands before putting a mask on and straight after taking it off. It means making sure it covers your mouth and your nose – don’t let it hang around your neck.
If your mask is wet it won’t be effective so you need to change it if it’s a disposable mask, or wash it if it is a cloth reusable mask.
And please make sure you don’t touch the front of your mask either whilst wearing it, or taking it on or off.
Wearing a mask can help stop someone who has COVID-19 – and doesn’t know it – from passing it on. It can also help prevent you getting COVID-19.
A mask is adds to the things we have already been doing for months now. We all still need to maintain physical distancing, practise good hygiene, and stay at home if you are unwell and get tested.
And, if health circumstances change, if community transmission gets more widespread, the medical advice will be updated. So it’s important that you stay up to date with the advice in your local area. Your state or territory government will provide this.
Wearing a mask, is another way you can play your part in stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives.
In this short video, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth talks about masks.