It is important not only to choose a mask with a good level of protection but also to put it on, wear it and take it off correctly. And in the case of reusable ones – also understand how to safely reuse them. WHO has prepared detailed instructions on wearing a mask.
How To Put On The Mask Correctly
- First, wash your hands or treat them with a sanitizer. WHO recommends wiping your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for 20-30 seconds or washing your hands with soap and water for at least 40-60 seconds.
- Then make sure that the mask itself is clean and intact, and you have not worn it before without replacing and washing it. If you’ve worn this mask before, be sure to wash it before wearing it again. Disposable masks cannot be reused: you need to put on a new one every time.
- Put on the N95 Mask, attaching the loops behind each ear or at the back of the head, depending on the type of mask. The mask should cover the mouth and nose and fit snugly against the cheeks and chin without gaps on the sides.
- If it is a disposable medical mask, bend the flexible metal insert to fit your nose. The white side of such masks is the inside; the blue side is the outside. Press the metal “bridge” to the bridge of the nose more tightly.
- Ensure you don’t touch the mask while wearing it.
- If the mask is dirty or wet, replace it with a new one.
How Do You Know If The Mask Fits?
Your mask should cover your chin, mouth, and nose. Make sure it fits well behind your ears or at the back of your head. There should be no gaps on the sides: according to WHO, a mask worn at intervals on the sides will not be able to effectively protect you from someone else’s sneezing and will not block the transmission of the virus from you to others. If the mask does not fit snugly, do not use it – look for other masks of the correct size.
How To Safely Remove The Mask?
In order not to get infected, you need to remove the mask as carefully as you put it on.
- Wash your hands thoroughly or treat them with an antiseptic as you did before putting on the mask.
- Without touching the front of the mask, grasp the loops or ties and pull it away from your face. Hold the mask only by the loops or ties until the end of the procedure.
- If the mask is disposable, discard it immediately after use – preferably in a resealable container.
- If the mask is fabric and reusable, put it in a clean, resealable plastic bag – keep it there until you start washing. When removing the mask from the bag, hold it only by the ear loops or ties. It is necessary to wash the used cloth masks at least once a day, in hot water (more than 60 degrees) and with the obligatory use of a detergent.
Wearing an N95 mask is an additional precaution that can help reduce the likelihood that an infected person will transmit the virus further. The most effective way to prevent the spread of this virus is by following social distancing guidelines and washing your hands regularly.