Wearing a mask plays an important part in reducing the spread of winter illness and protecting those most susceptible to getting sick like older people, those with low immunity, or those with some health conditions or disabilities.
Across the motu we are seeing an increase in respiratory illnesses like colds and flu, in addition to COVID-19, put pressure on hospitals and local healthcare providers.
Wearing a mask is an effective way to protect ourselves, and others as they help to stop infection spreading between people, particularly when we’re close together, or indoors without good ventilation.
Mask wearing is just one action New Zealanders can take to help protect themselves and others from illness this winter. Other actions include being up to date with your COVID-19 vaccination, having a flu vaccination, staying home if you’re unwell and testing for COVID-19; and maintaining good hand hygiene. All these measures help reduce the spread of infections.
If others have chosen not to, or can’t wear, a mask, it’s still worth wearing one to protect yourself from catching a virus or infecting others around you.
Wearing a mask also helps our kaimahi – or frontline healthcare teams – who are working hard to provide care for patients and our communities. By wearing a mask, you’re thinking of them and helping them to prevent people needing hospital and primary care.
Watch the Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, give his tips on wearing a mask in our new video.
For the best protection, choose a good quality mask that fits you well and is comfortable to wear. Also remember to:
- sanitise your hands before you put one on
- hook the elastic bands behind your ears
- fit the mask well to your face along your nose and cheeks
- check everything is fitting well and there are no big gaps above, below or on the sides.
Because it is possible to get COVID-19 again, even if you’ve had it previously, you should wear a mask – you’re not necessarily immune from getting it again.
Let’s all work together to help everyone get through winter in good shape.