Mask Safety - Capstone Brokerage

For most of us, wearing a mask or facial covering on the job was never part of our job description or requirements prior to COVID-19.  However, now that wearing a mask has been shown to slow the spread of coronavirus and become mandated for many of us, we are all becoming accustomed to wearing them at work, at the grocery store, and most often whenever we are out in public.  It’s important to understand the importance of wearing a mask, but also the importance of how to keep yourself safe from respiratory hazards from improper breathing technique and improper mask use.  Wearing a mask properly and effectively is the best way to make sure you are keeping yourself and others safe.

Wearing a Mask to Protect Others

          It has now been shown that coronavirus travels via respiratory droplets and is mainly an airborne illness.  When it’s not possible to stay the recommended six feet or more away from other people that are not members of your household, wearing a mask is the best way to prevent the transmission of coronavirus.  Certain facemasks such as the N95 mask protect the person wearing it from the environment whereas all facemasks, including homemade cloth coverings protect the environment from the person.  This is why it is critical to wear one at work as you interact with clients, employees, and customers.  While it can be uncomfortable and irritating, it can potentially save a life, including your own. 

Wearing a Mask and Protecting Yourself

          Even though the CDC guidelines recommend wearing a mask to slow the transmission of coronavirus, wearing a face covering daily for hours on end, especially for those who are not used to it, could result in many other potential issues.  Studies have shown that extended use of a face covering can cause problems such as anxiety, headaches, heart rate fluctuation, confusion, and fatigue.  Wearing a face covering can cause variances in breathing technique and thermoregulation which affect both body and mind.  Those that find themselves having an especially difficult time wearing a mask need to focus on their breathing patterns and following proper steps to prevent abnormally fast breathing rates or restricted breathing, both of which can lead to headaches, dizziness, lack of focus, and elevated blood pressure. 

Recommended Breathing Strategies

          There are simple protocols and procedures you can follow to alleviate the potential for harmful breathing techniques.  Steps you can take include:

  • Understanding how to take a “quality breath”
    • Inhaling for 4 seconds, exhaling for 6 seconds, pausing for 2 seconds between breaths
  • Take 5 quality breaths before putting a mask on
  • Take 5 quality breaths immediately after putting a mask on
  • Take 5 quality breaths after removing a mask
    • These breaths will set the tone for your breathing pattern and keep you from exhibiting dangerous breathing habits while wearing your mask
  • Keep in mind to take longer, slower breaths and be mindful if they become short and sporadic
  • When it is safe to do so, take a breathing break and practice the quality breaths to reduce any negative effects of wearing the mask for an extended period of time
  • Practicing breathing and respiratory muscle training for 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night can contribute to healthy breathing while wearing a mask


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