Practical Tips for Wearing Masks
Practical Tips for Mask Wearing
This post is meant to provide some practical tips on mask wearing for teens and kids. As masks at school have become a reality for many, I just wanted to share some information about mask hygiene and skin care to help parents this fall. As always, parents can set the tone of a situation and encourage kids to have a positive attitude. I don’t think any of us love wearing these all day, but discussing them in a positive light with younger kids or honestly discussing their importance with older kids may be helpful. This article is not to be an endorsement or condemnation of any policy- just trying to help with our current reality.
I recommend some practice time with masks at home before school starts. Have your child wear the mask for several hours while playing, watching TV or doing computer work. This will help them get used to wearing a mask. It also may help to determine if fit or comfort can be improved. When we first started wearing masks all day in the office, many of us had pain behind our ears. We had to make modifications to wear them more comfortably. Some kids prefer wearing a headband and attaching the mask to the headband instead of wearing behind ears. We all prefer different styles of mask as well. It might be good to try this out at home so wearing at school won’t be as uncomfortable or foreign.
Teens may see an increase in acne in the mask area. I recommend changing mask every day. Mask should be washed in hot water if using cloth mask. When your teen comes home from school, removing mask and using a benzoyl peroxide face wash right when they get home will help control any bacterial build up on skin during the day. This cleanser can bleach towels and clothes so having some cheap white washcloths available might be a good idea. (Careful with nice school clothes!) At night they may benefit from a gentle moisturizer on skin such as cerave.
Younger kids are going to be more of a challenge. I feel we must have reasonable expectations of mask use in classroom. Adjusting masks of 25 children could be a full-time job. Teach your child how to put on the mask. I advise a mask on a lanyard to keep mask from being dropped and trampled. I would also make sure mask is clearly labeled to reduce the chance of your child wearing another child’s mask. Face shields can be a good option, but I would try at home first. Make sure shield is not fogging and making it difficult to see well. Check with your school about face shield options, as some schools require mask even with shield.
Having a backup mask in your child’s backpack might be a good idea for younger grades as well. I advise washing grade school kids faces with unscented soap after school.
We have a used mask bin in our laundry room. When we get home, we just put masks in the bin so they can easily be washed and returned to the correct child. I do not want to be struggling to find masks on my way out the door! Kids can be “mask monitor” and help remind others to leave house with mask. Having some ownership in remembering can make the process easier for kids.
I am hoping for a safe, healthy and productive school year for all of our patients.