Face Coverings: Do I need one?
Some positive news this week - the COVID-19 alert level in the UK has lately dropped from 4 to 3. While this means that the number of new cases is falling, we still need to take steps to keep you and our staff safe in practice.
One measure is the widespread use of face coverings. Like in shops, hospitals and on public transport, we're asking anyone attending our practice to wear one when they aren't being treated and especially when 2-metre social distancing isn't possible.
Of course, it's also still important to make sure surgical masks and other personal protective equipment items don't get diverted from where they're needed, like hospitals and care homes, as well as dental practices. So, what to use instead?
When should I use a face covering?We're asking anyone attending our practice to wear one when they aren't being treated - especially when social distancing isn't possible.
A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably - possible options include:
What can I use?A face covering can be as simple as a scarf or bandanna that ties behind the head.
Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times. Store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.
Do not touch the front of the face covering, or where the face covering has been in contact with your mouth and nose. Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched.
You should wash a face covering regularly. It can go in with other laundry, using your normal detergent.
When wearing a face covering, take care to tuck away any loose ends.
Can I re-use a face covering?Face coverings can be re-used and should be washed regularly. They can go in with other laundry, using your normal detergent.
Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 3 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. For example, primary age children unassisted, or those with problems breathing.
Always take care to use face-coverings or masks safely to avoid injury. Children should only follow these instructions under the supervision of adults.
How can I help my child with using a face covering?Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 3 - for other young children, you can help by by showing them that you wear one yourself when you're in public. You can also show them pictures online.
Primary age children may find wearing face coverings difficult - here's how you can help:
- Explain that wearing masks is one way we can help keep people well, just like washing our hands. Tailor the details to your child's age;
- Children rely on our faces to understand emotions — when they can't see a person's face, they might need more reassurance than usual when coming to the dentist for treatment;
- Your dentist might already have suggesting bringing a favourite toy to your child's next appointment - have an extra face-covering on hand for your child to put on a much-loved toy, or to use during pretend-play at home.