How to make wearing a mask more comfortable when flying

Who would have thought that a little piece of s-shaped plastic could make all the difference to your comfort when you’re flying?

I recently completed a four-hour domestic flight and my ears started getting sore a few hours in, right where the ear loops of my mask were digging into the backs of my ears. This didn’t fill me with hope for any long international trips I hope to be taking in the near future.

Luckily, before my return trip, I was able to find some different masks in a chemist that came with a little piece of s-shaped plastic that hook the mask straps together at the back of your head. This made the mask much more comfortable and because I tied it under my hair, I didn’t end up with any lines embedded into my hair.

Read: Hope this new cabin design will make air travel in a pandemic safer

If you can’t find masks that come with this plastic piece, I think a bread tie or paper clip could also work nicely. There are also dedicated mask extenders you can purchase to save your ears from the dread ‘mask rub’.

Image source: Amazon

Here are four other tips for a more comfortable mask experience.

Bring multiple masks to switch between

If one mask becomes uncomfortable in a specific place on your head, switching to another can give you a bit of a break.

There are a few tell-tale signs that it is time to replace your face mask, as it may no longer be offering an adequate level of protection, such as:

  • it not fitting firmly on your face to the point where you can feel your breath coming out of the sides of the mask
  • the mask sliding down your nose
  • holes appearing in the mask
  • constantly having to adjust it
  • the material starting to wear out.

Invest in a mask lanyard

You know you shouldn’t be touching your mask all the time. But where are you supposed to put it when you take it off to eat or drink? A mask lanyard can keep your mask safe when you take it off so that it doesn’t end up on the ground or get dirty in your bag.

Image source: Etsy

Read: British airline first to scrap masks on flights

Avoid your glasses fogging up

Two British doctors – Dr Sheraz Shafi Malik and Dr Shahbaz Shafi Malik – have shared a way to keep your glasses from fogging up while wearing a face mask.

As told in the medical journal Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England: “Immediately before wearing a face mask, wash the spectacles [glasses] with soapy water and shake off the excess. Then, let the spectacles air dry or gently dry off the lenses with a soft tissue before putting them back on. Now the spectacle lenses should not mist up when the face mask is worn.”

If this trick can keep glasses from fogging up in the emergency room, it can certainly work during a flight.

Choose cloth over paper

Paper masks have been touted as giving you the most protection, but I’ve found that cloth masks are much more comfortable compared to the blue paper surgical masks.

I’m no medical expert but, according to Popular Mechanics, so long as your allows you to breathe without restriction, includes multiple layers of fabric, fits snugly across your face, and can be secured with ties or ear loops, you should be fairly well protected from infection.

Cloth face masks are now made with a range of different materials, and some even have pouches that fit a replaceable filter.

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Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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