COVID 19 has brought with it a new era: it is being described as the “new normal”. It seems that everything we have known is changing rapidly and we must adopt an “adapt and change” approach in order to survive.
Being classified as an essential service worker, I could work once the level 4 restrictions were announced. Prior to opening the practice doors, much thought out planning and procedures had to be implemented to ensure proper safety for our staff and our Chiropractic patients. As good as the new procedures looked on paper, they were much harder to adopt in practice. The biggest challenge was treating with a mask. I can honestly say, I have a huge respect now, for those professionals that need to wear one for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.
Greeting a Chiropractic patient, while both wearing a mask, felt so impersonal. It was strange, odd, and awkward at first. It reminds one to exercise physical distance, however seemed impractical when Chiropractic relies heavily on close contact with your patients. After a few patients though, it did feel like the mask became my superhero cape. Patient’s felt comfortable because of the mask, which acts like a barrier, and therefore made me feel more confident in being in close contact with them. Thankfully, Chiropractic patients spend more time lying on their stomach during treatment, as most of the time they are presenting with lower back pain.
When speaking, the mask makes it difficult to understand each other. My voice felt strained at the end of a working day, as I had to speak louder to be heard. I discovered though, that if the mask is on too tightly, your voice sounds muffled when speaking. A tip for this, is to have a mask where the front is quite wide, to give your lips space when you speak.
When you are wearing the mask all day, it also tends to hurt your ears (if you have one with elastics that go around and over the ear lobes). I switched to a tie back mask which rectified this problem. I cut off the elastics and replaced it with a shoelace that I fed through the sides of the mask. By tying the ends together, there was no pressure on my ears and the mask coincidentally held in place a lot better than the elastics. When it had the elastics, it was constantly shifting or slipping off my nose, meaning I had to constantly adjust and touch the mask (which we shouldn’t be doing).
The other big challenge were my glasses. Being near sighted, I need to wear my glasses all the time. Inhaling is not the problem, but exhaling tends to fog them up. A tip that I got today was to put shaving cream on your glasses and then wiping it off, preventing the fogging up. I have not tried this yet, but as soon as I get to buy some, I will update on my personal experience.
My experience with mask usage has come with many challenges and when I can take it off at the end of the day, it does feel as good as taking off your shoes and getting into your favourite pair of slippers.
Many people will face new challenges, as the use of masks increases. Why not share your story with us? What has been your challenge and how did you overcome it? What tips and advice can you offer other mask wearers?
After having over a decade of experience as a Chiropractor, Dr Young has gained much knowledge through her interaction with patients and post-graduate learning course. As she uncovers new and exciting developments in the alternative healthcare field, she loves to share her passion and knowledge with her readers.