Self-care tips for mask wearing…
Please note: I wear my mask to protect others, to hopefully reduce the likelihood of being an asymptomatic spreader of the COVID-19 pathogen. My friends, colleagues, and patients also wear masks to protect each other. My observations and comments in this writing are intended as supportive measures as we safely continue to do our protective part in the current healthcare scenario – and in no way are intended as reasons for not wearing your mask, and may not be used by others to support not wearing masks.
I’ve asked a few friends, colleagues, and patients if they feel less well hydrated on the days when they wear their masks for longer periods of time. The general consensus is Yes!
Consider this your gentle reminder to revisit your hydration plan and adjust to accommodate any dehydration that’s creeping in. The change could be due to differences in breathing through the mask material, change in your habit of drinking as we’re more aware of keeping our masks covering us appropriately, or perhaps even the difference in how we talk to be clearly understood through the material. Any of these or others not mentioned could be causing some dehydration.
Please check-in with how much you’re drinking to ensure it’s adequate for your health & hydration.
My next thought goes with the ear loops that many masks use to be held in place – and wondering if that gentle (hopefully gentle!) constant pulling is affecting the fascia and musculature around our ears. I treat many patients for headaches, jaw tightness and pain, and TMJ syndrome. Addressing the fascia & muscles connecting to the area at the base of the ears is always part of those treatments as it’s directly associated with those problems. I’ve started having conversations with my patients about also using non-earloop style of face coverings some of the time. Masks that use straps/ties may offer an option that doesn’t pull – for those who already experience facial or jaw muscular tension. I’ve also started showing patients how to perform self-massage around their ears, jaw, and along the sides of their scalps above their ears (temporalis muscle) to prevent tightness and muscle tension from developing.
I’ll post a clip of the self-massage in another segment.