School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: How to Wear a Face Mask by a Seasoned School Nurse

School nurse and current President of the National Board for Certification of School Nurses, Deborah Pontius, posted a picture of herself wearing a face mask on Facebook. She is an expert quilter as well, so she is also busy using her talents making masks. Included in Deb’s Facebook post were directions on how to put them on, take them off, and care for them. Here is Deb’s post, including the picture that caught my attention!  Thank you Deb, for all that you do to make, educate and model information about our “now normal.”

    Deborah Pontius, MSN, RN, NCSN, FNASN

Now that everyone is recommended to wear masks when you go out around people, there are some guidelines we learned in nursing school:

To don: If they have ties, tie the top one first, then the bottom, then adjust the nose wire (if there is one).

After donning: Don’t touch the mask! Touch only the ties, the nose piece or the very bottom, but not the mask itself. Especially not over your nose or mouth.

If you forget and touch the mask, wash your hands or use sanitizer immediately. Each time.

If the mask gets wet from your breath, change it. Wet causes you to expel and breathe in more germs.

To remove the mask, untie the bottom, then top, or remove ear loops. Don’t touch the mask! Handling by loops or elastic, immediately wash or put it in a plastic bag until you wash. Leaving it sitting around the house is a germ factory. Now wash your hands/sanitize.

Wash in hot water, dry on hot and iron to reshape. The heat helps to kill the germs. (Reusable fabric masks that are)

And please don’t leave your nose out. That defeats the purpose of a mask.

Practice wearing in your house to get used to wearing one. It’s not easy or fun to wear a mask, it takes practice.

Plus this added by my friend/colleague Lindsey Minchella:

The CDC says “ face masks should reach from above your nose to below your chin, completely covering your mouth and nostrils, fitting tightly on the sides of your face, and securing with loops around your ears or ties around the back of your head. They should be thick, with multiple layers of fabric, but not restrict your breathing in any way. You should also be able to wash and machine-dry your mask without ruining its shape.”

And remember, I protect you and you protect me by wearing a mask. Face masks are no replacement for physical distancing, staying home, good sanitation practices and handwashing! Face masks are an addition, not a replacement. And not wearing them correctly is no better than not wearing them at all.

Image may contain: one or more people, closeup and indoor
                Deborah Pontius, MSN, RN, NCSN, FNASN

Bio: Deborah Pontius is a seasoned, dynamic speaker with over 30 years of speaking experience in providing high quality, engaging presentations on everything from Lamaze to lice at local, regional, and national conferences both live and via webinars.  Her areas of expertise include pediatrics & school health, health literacy, lice, anaphylaxis, rural & frontier health, deafness, CPR and first aid.


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