When you have symptoms of a cold, flu, COVID-19 (coronavirus) or other viruses and infections, proper use of a surgical mask can help protect others from getting sick. It is important that you follow infection prevention precautions when putting on and taking off your mask. If you are one of those who needs to wear a facemask, follow these instructions on how to put on and take off a surgical mask
Masks also help limit the spread of germs. When someone talks, coughs or sneezes, it can release tiny drops into the air that can infect others. If someone is sick, facemasks can reduce the amount of germs released by the wearer and can protect others from getting sick. A face mask also protects the wearer’s nose and mouth from splashes or sprays of body fluids.
How to put on and take off a mask
Disposable masks should be used once and then thrown away. You should also remove and replace masks when they become wet.
Always follow product instructions on mask use and storage, and procedures for putting on and taking off a mask. If instructions for putting on and taking off the mask are not available, follow the steps below.
Steps for putting on a mask
1- Before putting on the mask, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or rub your hands well with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
2- Check the face mask for defects, such as breaks or broken loops.
3- Place the colored side of the mask towards the outside.
4- If present, make sure the metal strip is on top of the mask and placed against the bridge of the nose.
5- If the mask has:
a. earrings: hold the mask by both earrings and place the earrings over each ear.
b. Ties: hold the mask by the upper strings. Tie the top cords in a secure loop near the crown of the head. Tie the lower cords securely in a loop near the back of the neck.
c. Dual rubber bands: Pull the upper band over your head and place it against the crown. Pull the lower band over your head and place it against the back of your neck.
6- Mold the upper flexible metal strip to the shape of your nose by pinching it and pressing it with your fingers.
7- Pull the lower part of the mask over your mouth and chin.
8- Make sure the mask fits perfectly.
9- Do not touch the mask once it is in place.
10- If the mask becomes dirty or wet, replace it with a new one.
How to remove a mask
1. Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask. Avoid touching the front of the mask because it is contaminated. Only touch the earrings/loops/ear band. Follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using.
2. Mask with earrings: Hold both earrings and gently lift and remove the mask.
3. Face mask with ties: untie the lower loop first, then untie the upper loop and remove the mask while loosening the ties.
4. Mask with straps: first lift the lower strap over your head, then pull the upper strap over your head.
5. Throw the mask away. Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.