Advice on how and where to wear face coverings
Wearing a cloth face covering is recommended in situations where it is difficult to practise social distancing, for example, in shops or on busy public transport. Wearing of cloth face coverings may help prevent people who do not know they have the virus from spreading it to others.
If you wear one, you should still do the important things necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.
- washing your hands properly and often
- covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
- not touching your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- social distancing (keeping at least 2 metres away from other people)
A cloth face covering is a material you wear that covers the nose and mouth.
Wearing a cloth face covering in public may reduce the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in the community. It may help to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets from people infected with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Cloth face coverings may help to stop people who are not aware they have the virus from spreading it.
If you have COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or have symptoms of the virus, you must self-isolate. Do this even if you wear a face covering.
Wearing of face coverings is recommended in the following circumstances:
- when staying 2 metres apart from people is difficult – for example, in shops, shopping centres or public transport
- by people visiting the homes of those who are cocooning
- by people who are being visited in their homes by those who are cocooning
Cloth face coverings are made from materials such as cotton, silk, or linen.
You can buy them or make them at home using items such as scarfs, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.
Cloth face coverings are not suitable for children under the age of 13 and anyone who:
- has trouble breathing
- is unconscious or incapacitated
- is unable to remove it without help
- has special needs and who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing the face covering
Do not criticise or judge people who are not able to wear a face covering.
A cloth face covering should cover the nose and go under the chin and:
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- be secured with ties or ear loops
- include at least 2 layers of fabric
- allow for breathing without restriction
Wash daily in a hot wash over 60 degrees with detergent.
If using a washing machine, you should be able to wash and machine dry it without damage or change to shape.
You do not need to sterilise cloth face coverings. Wash it in a washing machine or by hand as you would any other item of clothing.
Wash hands before and after use.
To make a cloth face covering at home:
- cut two rectangles of tightly-woven cotton about 25cm x 15cm
- fold and stitch the top and bottom edges
- fold and stitch the side edges, leaving a gap big enough to thread elastic through
- thread two 15cm lengths of elastic through the side edges and tie tight. Hair ties or string, cut longer and tied behind the head, will work
- tuck elastic knots inside the edges of the mask and stitch in place for a neater finish
You should throw out a cloth face covering when it:
- no longer covers the nose and mouth
- has stretched out or damaged ties or straps
- cannot stay on the face
- has holes or tears in the fabric
How to use a cloth face covering properly
- clean your hands properly before you put it on
- practise using it so you are comfortable putting it on and taking it off
- make sure it is made from a fabric you are comfortable wearing
- cover your mouth and nose with it and make sure there are no gaps between your cloth face covering
- tie it securely
- carry unused masks in a sealable clean waterproof bag(for example, a ziplock bag)
- carry a second similar type bag to put used masks in
- touch a mask or face covering while wearing it – if you do, clean your hands properly
- use a damp or wet medical mask or reuse a medical mask
- share masks
- do not lower your mask to speak, eat and smoke or vape – if you need to uncover your nose or mouth take the mask off and put it in the bag for used masks
- do not discard masks in public places
Taking off a cloth face covering
- remove it from behind – do not touch the front of the mask
- do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth
- clean your hands properly
- put disposable masks in a bin straight away
Medical masks (surgical and respirator) are for healthcare workers. Some workers in specific jobs also use them. They are vital supplies and are not intended for use by the public in the community. We want to try and make sure that medical face masks are kept for health care workers.
Do not wear disposable gloves instead of washing your hands.
The virus gets on them in the same way it gets on your hands. Also, your hands can get contaminated when you take them off.
Disposable gloves are worn in medical settings. They are not as effective in daily life.
Wearing disposable gloves can give you a false sense of security.
- sneeze or cough into the gloves – this creates a new surface for the virus to live on
- contaminate yourself when taking off the gloves or touching surfaces
- not wash your hands as often as you need to and touch your face with contaminated gloves
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Safer Internet Day takes place next Tuesday, 7th February 2023. Sadly more than 1 in 4 young people in Ireland have experienced cyberbullying, yet only 60% of victims tell their parents. As teenagers and children spend more time on the internet, ensuring it's a safe space is ever more important.
To encourage conversation about life online and help parents keep their children safe, I'd like to share a free resource created by Switcher.ie.
It's a comprehensive guide which includes things like:
I thought it may be useful to share the link to the guide - https://switcher.ie/broadband/guides/how-to-keep-your-children-safe-online/ - which you can include on your website ahead of Safer Internet Day, to help parents and children who may need some extra support.
We've also put together some handy top tips you can use on your website:
10 tips to keep your children safe online
- How to reduce the risks online
- How to recognise cyber bullying and grooming
- How to educate children on cyber safety
- How to set up parental controls on devices
- Talk about it:Make time to chat about online risks and how to use the internet safelyas soon as they're old enough to go online. Encourage your children to speak to you about what they view online and empower them to act if they're worried about anything.
- Recognise the risks: Educate yourself about the potential dangers children could face online so it’s easier to spot warning signs. Get to know what platforms your children use, and learn about dangers such as phishing, grooming and cyberbullying.
- Teach the do's and don'ts: Be clear about the non-negotiables. For example, teach your child not to share personal details or photos with strangers and instruct them not to click on links to unknown websites or texts. Do encourage your child to question what they see and only accept friend requests from people they know.
- Spot the signs: Pay attention to your children's behaviour whilst on and off their devices. Being alert to changes in your child can help prevent problems from escalating. Some warning signs are withdrawing from friends or family, sleeping and eating problems or losing interest in previously loved hobbies or interests.
- Set boundaries:Let your children know what they can and can't do on the internet from the get-go. Agree on what devices they can use, when, and how long they can spend online. As they get older, explaining and negotiating boundaries may be more effective.
- Take 'parental' control: These ready-made boundaries put parents in control of what children can see online. They can be set up through your internet provider at device level to block specific websites and filter out inappropriate content.
- Be social media savvy: The popularity of social media apps like TikTok and Snapchat makes it harder to keep track of what your child is accessing online. Fortunately, each social media platform has its own privacy settings and safety tips for parents. Check them out before you let children have their own accounts.
- Protect from harm:Install antivirus software on family devices to minimise the risk of cyber attacks or scams. Use two-factor authentication (2FA) for extra security on your online accounts. This can also stop children from signing into services they're not allowed to use.
- Set a great example: You're the greatest 'influencer' in your children's lives when they're young. Limiting your time online, discussing dangers you've come across, and questioning what you view can help reinforce the rules you are setting for your children and, in turn, influence their online behaviour.
- Seek support:The more you learn about online dangers, the better equipped you'll be to handle them. There are some great resources like webwise.ie, internetmatters.organd cybersafekids.ie to help you recognise and reduce online dangers and seek advice if you think your child is experiencing cyberbullying or is at risk online.
Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.
This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services.
What is infant mental health?
Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.
The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.
The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.
In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.
Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)
In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.
These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).
These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie
There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from firstname.lastname@example.org