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Is there any secret to wearing a facemask for long periods of time?

Is there any secret to wearing a facemask for long periods of time?

Old Apr 16, 21, 3:20 pm
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Is there any secret to wearing a facemask for long periods of time?

My husband and I have not done any travel since covid. We have followed quite obediently all the covid protocols over the last 14 months. I am 65 my husband just turned 77. We have been vaccinated but still tepidly re-entering society.

We are facing a wedding of a nephew in the Midwest in early September. In a great hall with probably a 100 guests or more. Our dilemma is that we have not worn facemasks for any length of time more than 30 minutes or so for shopping. To get to our Midwest destination would takes us close to 15 hours of travel time.

My husband does not want to go and has been pretty adamant he doesn't want me to go as well....not feeling totally safe on a plane and the great length of travel time masked. Since it is my family I feel a little more obligated....but I would find it very difficult if not near impossible to stay in a mask for 15 hours of travel and then additional mask wearing when in public at our destination.

My family doesn't understand our dilemma.

Any ideas?
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Last edited by david55; Apr 17, 21 at 12:02 pm
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Old Apr 16, 21, 3:54 pm
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Lots of people, surgeons and other surgical staff, as just one example, have worn masks for a lot longer than you are facing if you are only flying a quick hop from LAX to the midwest and can use a face covering a lot less restrictive than surgical gear.

I don't even think about it. Bought some comfortable masks which tighten around the back of my head rather than loop over my ears and after 5-10 minutes, it's as though it's not there. Same thing as a shirt, trousers or shoes. If you buy something uncomfortable, it's going to be uncomfortable.
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Old Apr 16, 21, 3:55 pm
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Originally Posted by david55 View Post
My husband and I have not done any travel since covid. We have followed quite obediently all the covid protocols over the last 14 months. I am 65 my husband just turned 77. We have been vaccinated but still tepidly re-entering society.

We are facing a wedding of a nephew in the Midwest in early September. In a great hall with probably a 100 guests or more. Our dilemma is that we have not worn facemasks for any length of time more than 30 minutes or so for shopping. To get to our Midwest destination would takes us close to 15 hours of travel time.

My husband does not want to go and has been pretty adamant he doesn't want me to go as well....not feeling totally safe on a plane and the great length of travel time masked. Since it is my family I feel a little more obligated....but there is no way I could stay in a mask for 15 hours of travel and then additional mask wearing when in public at our destination.

My family doesn't understand our dilemma.

Any ideas?
I wear a face mask 7 hours a day, every school day since August 1.

I talk all day. I wear a paper mask. I breathe just fine. It was a pain the first few days, but now I am driving home and realize it still have it on. I don't like cotton masks for a long period of time, especially when I am active. I find the paper surgical masks pretty comfortable.

As for safety on a plane for vaccinated people, I can't answer that, you will have to make your own decisions.

But I would recommend paper masks. It really isn't bad. I take it off to eat lunch, and lower it to drink water and/or coffee, but only for a second as we are supposed to model proper mask behavior for our students, who also wear masks 7 hours a day.

Some of the teachers modify the strap around the ears as it gets a little uncomfortable day in and day out, but I have big jug ears, so it doesn't bother me.
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Old Apr 16, 21, 4:01 pm
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If I'm not being particularly active, I actually find the N-95 -style masks more comfortable since they don't rub as much against my mouth/lips (although my nose might get sore eventually). If you are just concerned about the discomfort of the masks, it is worth getting a few options and trying them out at home for a few hours and see which one feels best.
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Old Apr 16, 21, 4:01 pm
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The key is to find a safe mask (ICU quality) that's comfortable, and you can wear for a long periods of time. I've been using the Respokare N95 Respirator Mask, and find I hardly notice it after hours of wearing it.

Here’s a short video done by a Critical Care Pulmonologist which explains it far much better than I could.


They're not cheap, but they are on-sale now @ 50% off at the attached link.

https://n95maskco.com/

Best of luck

Last edited by jaymar01; Apr 16, 21 at 8:54 pm
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Old Apr 16, 21, 4:10 pm
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As I have worn masks for longer periods of time I have got used to them they don't bother me much at all now (these are the N95 kind). Also it is worth trying different ones. I find the ones that loop around my ears make my ears sore after a couple of hours but the ones that loop around my head do not. So the only time I wear the ear kind are when I am getting a haircut. Also if you aren't comfortable going, then don't go don't let your family pressure you if you don't want to do it. Send the bride and groom a nice card and present and call it a day.
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Old Apr 16, 21, 6:29 pm
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I've worn masks for extended periods day after day when working in cleanrooms. You get used to it quickly and stop really noticing. The thing you pay attention to in that environment is where your hands are, what they've touched, and do you need to change gloves. The mask stops being noticeable pretty quickly.

Things that make a mask more comfortable:
1) fastens behind head instead of over ears. It gives you more control over how it presses. I usually use tie behind rather than elastic. It's also secure if you need to pull it off for TSA - I just pull the top loop over my head or down below my ears, and leave the lower loop tied.
2) flat metal strip over your nose. it helps seal around your nose and also helps keep water vapor from coming up and fogging your glasses if you wear them.
3) 3D geometry. Paper (mostly really blown poly) masks are structured in ways that keep them from sucking into your mouth. Fabric masks tend to just pull over your mouth and feel like they're sucking in. I have a bunch of duckbill style that I like, as well as KN95, and some cheap flat pleated masks. The duckbill are my preferred mask because they tie behind (KN95 are earloop) and have a lot of space. There are also silicone mask brackets you can get to keep masks from sucking in, but I've never used one for more than an hour.
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Old Apr 16, 21, 8:39 pm
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Regular masks offer limited protection for the wearer.
N95 are probably the best but rather uncomfortable to wear over extended period of time.
KN95 offer a reasonable balance - effective filtration when properly fit and ok to wear if you hook the straps together around your head rather than over the ears (pressure becomes rather unpleasant over time)
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Old Apr 16, 21, 9:07 pm
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Disposable surgical masks are not that hard to wear for hours on end. You get used to it. Medical staff do it all day long. It’s the washable cloth ones that are more difficult, and IMO, often the source of most of the complaints. Try it at home and see. In any event, your vaccinations are the primary defense against Covid, and the surgical masking is to protect others, as well as to comply with airline rules.

Since it’s Flyertalk, I’ve got to ask. What domestic flights take 15 hours in the US? Or are you outside CONUS?
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Old Apr 16, 21, 11:49 pm
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Originally Posted by david55 View Post
- My husband does not want to go and has been pretty adamant he doesn't want me to go as well....not feeling totally safe on a plane and the great length of travel time masked. Since it is my family I feel a little more obligated....but there is no way I could stay in a mask for 15 hours of travel and then additional mask wearing when in public at our destination.

My family doesn't understand our dilemma.

Any ideas?
A comfortable surgical mask is normally best. I have been using one every day for years and got so used to it, I would doze off on long flights to Australia. You could suggest putting on a face shield when seated in transit as Dr. Birx recommended, if it makes your spouse feel more protected. Butterfly-style acrylic shields with spectacle frames wear and feel much like heavy glasses.
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Old Apr 17, 21, 1:35 am
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I can't do it for long periods of time (i.e 8 hours) and I'm required to wear one at work. It's mainly because of the stale, warm air that I feel like that I'm inhaling again. You know what happens to the mask when I'm outside and by myself or away from others.

I don't like the masks which loop around the ear even though they are the easiest ones to wear because for some reason they slip off, as if my ears are "structurally weak" which allows the loops to unhook themselves off my ears, but the ones which wrap around the head are nice and snug, but as a person who wears glasses, removing and putting this type of mask involves a bit more work. I have several types of masks I can wear, a washable cloth mask, two KN95s, N95, and the surgical mask I use as a second layer. Out of the ones I have, I do like the KN95s, it's not as uncomfortable as wearing the washable cloth mask (for both the ears and breathing) or wrapping a T-shirt around my mouth and nose (did this at the beginning).

I think you and your husband are right to make your own choices with your level of comfort, even with the vaccinations.

Last edited by i0wnj00; Apr 17, 21 at 1:44 am
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Old Apr 17, 21, 6:39 am
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I sleep fine with them for the majority of my rest time on 7-9 hour flights. They annoy me at first, but then I adjust just fine to them within minutes or faster.
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Old Apr 17, 21, 7:01 am
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I double mask 8 hours daily for work and the back of my ears became raw. Tried several head straps without success.

Discovered mask ear loop protector/pads that wrap around the straps with tiny velcro protecting the back of my ears.
They are easily adjustable to avoid pain points.

You can find them on Amazon, a little pricey for a set of 4, however worth every penny since I use them every day.

Search for - HTGT Ear Savers for Masks
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Old Apr 17, 21, 7:17 am
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Interesting discussion. I can't really offer more on the type of masking that hasn't already been spoken to here, but for (at least) the transit portion, might I offer this...

01) On a plane, consider making regular trips to the washroom (yeah, kind of a pain) and taking your mask off in there for a few moments...
02) Air movement is your friend. I often carry a USB fan and use it to blow air at me. I find it easier to breath (mask or no) when there is a cool breeze aimed at my face)
03) Keep hydrated... while we need to keep our masks on, a few quick sips of something cool often helps me when I am out and about.
04) Along with the above, I try to keep some hard candy in my mouth to keep it from drying. It just seems to help me.

I haven't been on a plane during covid, but I'm assuming these types of daily activity help me go through long periods of mask wearing.
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Old Apr 17, 21, 7:33 am
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Wearing a mask for a long period of time is basically like getting a new pair of shoes. You just have to wear it and get used to it.
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