What about Masks??? Should I wear one or should my client wear one when I am providing personal care? What about homemaking? What about when I’m out running errands (shopping/laundry)?
Here’s what the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) states about masks: People who are not sick do not need face masks to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.
People who are ill should wear a mask, if available, to protect family members or whenever and where ever a mask is needed to prevent the spread of germs. However, the CDPHE also states: Although most individuals who contract COVID-19 do not become seriously ill, persons with mild symptoms and asymptomatic COVID-19 illness may place other vulnerable members of the public at significant risk.
In an ideal world we would all have access to masks and would be wearing them all the time (just in case) to protect from the people who may be infected but not showing symptoms. However, we currently live in a situation where even hospitals who treat infected patients are starting to run out of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
- We have no access to buying ANY masks. They are currently not available anywhere and that is not likely to change in the near future. - Staying home is the safest way to avoid getting sick, and continuing to receive in-home care gives you the best chance of staying healthy.
But, if you are stuck in a situation where you think you need a mask or you would prefer to use a mask just in case when providing services, here are a few tips on home-made masks:
Firstly and foremost, these masks are not very effective. In the best case scenario, where it fits really well and many layers of fabric can be used, you might get about half the effectiveness of the least effective masks, the disposable “surgical” masks. That’s very little. But if you believe that you are in a situation where any protection is better than none at all, then you might consider using a home-made mask.
Second, handle it properly. Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before applying a mask to your face as it will always require touching your face to adjust the mask for the best possible fit. Once it’s on, leave it in place and if you need to adjust it, start again with washing your hands before adjusting the mask. Then, wash your hands again after adjusting or removing the mask, because it may actually have germs on it either from you because you have been breathing into it, or from someone who was close to you and breathed in your face.
Third, work hard to get a good fit!! Even if you find the best possible material in the world for preventing transmission, if your mask does not fit snugly against your skin all the way around your mouth and nose, it will not work very well to protect you or others around you.
Fourth, the best policy is to stay away from work and other household members if you feel like symptoms are developing, and that includes clients. If you come into your client’s home and suspect that the client is sick, the first thing to do is to step out of the client’s home, call the Alpine office and follow instructions from there.
A last note of information – obviously, these home-made masks need to be handled with clean hands and also need to be changed and washed frequently. We recommend washing them after each use in hot water, using bleach if available and or boiling them in water for 10 minutes after washing to disinfect.
Please read above notice before watching the video!