Masks Prophylactic

Not bad. Nasal seal a bit duff.

The last time I wore a mask was in an operating theatre. Everyone here is wearing them, some properly, most not. And no, this isn’t Meghan DoS, although the resemblance is uncanny…

Here’s how to use a mask:

Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. I sing “Oh Flower of Scotland”. Or “For those in Peril on the Sea” as if I’m travelling on Titanic. Others’ preferences differ, but “Nessun Dorma” is unnecessarily long. Unless you have access to at least 120 proof Polish vodka, rinsing the hands with cheap gin won’t work.

Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask. If you must, and the thing has a wire, press down on the bridge of the nose to better seal it. My nose is, er, a bit on the flat side, so I could press away till Kingdom Come and it wouldn’t make a decent seal, but, if you gotta big hooter it might work.

Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with – here we go again – alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. I did exactly that and the surgeon supervisor I was with made me scrub up again from scratch. Nobody died, fortunately. 

Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks. Which means usually about ten minutes otherwise with the crappy Chinese stuff you feel like you’re inhaling wet toilet paper.

If you’re using a proper European or American made hazard product, they last rather longer. Like lawnmowers.  Racist? Moi?

To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub (do not swig from the bottle, it isn’t mouthwash) or soap and water. More flowers of Scotland, especially if you forget and just screw the sodden article up and lob it bin-wards.

The whole mask thing has become a political football. If where you live doesn’t have many, they’re saying you don’t need them. If there’s plenty, everybody panic buys. As of 3 April, the general consensus seems to be to use a mask outside a medical facility only if you are infected – so what are you doing out and about; you should be tucked up in bed watching Netflix – or you come or may come into contact (<1m) with known infections. Social distancing, yes six feet, two metres, ‘get the f*** out of my way’ is the best protection. French people stop kissing strangers, politicians, no kissing babies, everybody else just steer away from absolutely everybody, especially if they look ill. I’m thinking of getting hold of a greenish makeup to keep people away from me. The alternative is no showers for a week, but even I think that’s a bit extreme since the only sentient life to come near me will be the dog. Oh, finally, from the WHO, hot baths and gin will neither terminate a pregnancy nor protect you against COVID-19, eating garlic doesn’t work, drowning your torso in bleach or hydrogen peroxide will damage your skin, naked sunbathing might do wonders for your vitamin D levels but not much else, apart from the antibiotic effect of a bit of fresh air. Do not try this if you live in northern Finland. Frostbite isn’t nice.

And finally, it isn’t a Jewish conspiracy, Bill Gates didn’t do it and Chinese people don’t make a habit of eating bats. Stay well.

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