On the Frontline: How to Make Mask Wearing More Bearable?
Feb 17, 2021
Frontline workers in hospitals, pharmacies, manufacturing factories, public transport and more essential businesses have been religiously wearing face masks and coverings day-in and day-out since the beginning of the pandemic. For these individuals, wearing PPE is second nature and part of their work uniform. But, that isn’t to say it isn’t frustrating or comfortable.
Below, we look at the burden that wearing COVID-19 masks for prolonged periods can have on frontline essential workers and how mask-wearing can be made more bearable in the long-term.
Behind the COVID-19 Mask: The Frontline is Taking its Toll
For many frontline workers, especially health care workers, wearing PPE equipment on a daily basis has taken its toll. Combine long, mentally challenging shifts with wearing double-layered protective gear and it’s no surprise that burnout levels are on the rise.
In the past year, Instagram has been full of haunting selfies of exhausted faces, bruised and marked by prolonged use of restrictive N95 masks and goggles.
The physiological and psychological burdens of wearing PPE are hard to ignore. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the side effects of wearing N95 masks is hypoventilation. These masks are designed to restrict breathing and prolonged use can lead to increased CO2 levels in the blood and symptoms such as headaches, nausea, difficulty concentrating, and increased breathing frequency to name a few.
The same is true for many other industries that have been essential during the pandemic. Seeing as not wearing a face mask isn’t an option, how can these workers make wearing a mask more bearable? More on this below.
Three Ways to Make COVID-19 Masks More Comfortable
You don’t have to be an essential worker to know that wearing PPE can feel stuffy and uncomfortable. Even the average member of the general public finds spending too long in a grocery store unbearable these days. So, what solutions can be put in place?
Take Scheduled Breaks
We know this solution doesn’t require you to actually wear a mask but it will help in the long run. If you do happen to be in a profession that requires you to work long shifts while wearing PPE, make sure to schedule breaks.
A lot of the discomforts and symptoms that frontline workers experience are due to the fact that they don’t take adequate breaks during their workday. To reduce CO2 build-up and stop your Covid face mask from becoming too hot, take a five-minute break in a safe place where you can rehydrate and get some fresh air.
Try a Skin Saver Hack
Irritated skin around the nose, ears, and mouth is one of the core complaints that frontline workers have noted over the past year. As cloth masks aren’t an option, there are a number of hacks to make wearing N95 masks more comfortable.
If you are struggling with discomfort around your nose and chin, place a piece of tissue in these areas at the start of your shift to reduce friction and irritation. To prevent chafing in the ear area, use a paperclip for instant relief. Simply loop the elastic ear loops through the clip and wear at the back of your head. This will relieve pressure and prevent the skin around your ears from becoming too sensitive.
Use a Breathable Mask Insert
A breathable mask insert is a great solution for those frontline workers that need to wear an N95 mask or surgical masks for a prolonged period of time. These devices can be comfortably inserted into a mask to improve breathability and reduce CO2 inhalation.
The mask insert is designed to sit flush with your face while lifting any fabric away from your nose and mouth. This will prevent your mask from collapsing while you speak and breathe and won’t compromise on safety.
PowerAir Face Mask Inserts: Making Work on the Frontline More Bearable
Regardless of whether you are a nurse caring for patients on a COVID-19 ward or a worker in transportation and logistics working overtime to ensure that grocery stores are stocked to full capacity, wearing a mask during work doesn’t have to be unbearable.The PowerAir breathable face mask insert was designed to improve the professional and personal lives of all as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are looking to make your mask more comfortable while effectively preventing the spread of the virus, our face mask insert is the perfect solution for you. Shop the PowerAir mask insert today!