Take a look at the viral poster by GG Hospital on the correct way to wear a face mask, and find out why it’s WRONG, and learn how to correctly wear and remove a face mask!
GG Hospital : The Correct Way To Wear Face Mask
This poster was apparently created by GG Hospital in India to teach people that there are two sides to a medical or surgical face mask, and how to correctly wear one.
What’s shocking about this poster is that it was created by an actual hospital. They should know better than to spread fake news.
The Truth : There Is Only ONE SIDE To A Surgical Face Mask
The truth is there is only ONE SIDE to every surgical face mask.
Surgical masks are coloured on ONE SIDE to make it easy for medical staff to figure out which side FACES OUT.
Whether they are coloured blue, green or pink, the COLOURED SIDE is meant to face OUTWARDS.
If the mask you are using has no colour, then it is NOT a 3-ply surgical mask – just a simple 2-ply face mask that is meant to maintain hygiene in a clean room or kitchen.
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The Filter Is Always The Middle Layer
The hoax falsely claims that the white layer is the filter.
A 3-ply surgical mask has three layers :
- an outer hydrophobic layer, which repels water, blood and body fluids,
- a middle filter layer that is designed to filter bacteria, and
- an inner hydrophilic layer, which absorbs water, sweat and spit
In a 2-ply face mask, both layers are usually made from the same material – fabric or polypropylene or other kinds of non-woven material. There is NO FILTER layer. They are usually used in spas and restaurants.
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Why It’s Important To Wear A Surgical Mask Correctly
The middle filter works no matter which way you wear the surgical mask, so the hoax is complete hogwash.
However, wearing it the wrong way will reduce your comfort as you will be exhaling into the outer hydrophobic (water-repelling) layer, instead of the inner absorbent layer.
Those working with actual patients will want to wear it correctly too, because the outer water-repelling layer will help prevent blood and other bodily fluids from soaking through to the filter.
How To Wear A Surgical Mask Correctly
Here are some step-by-step instructions for wearing a surgical mask correctly :
- Clean your hands with soap and water, or hand sanitiser, before touching the mask
- Hold the mask so that the stiff bendable strip is on top, and the coloured side facing outwards.
- If the surgical mask has ear loops
– hold the mask by the ear loops, and place a loop around each ear.
- If the surgical mask has ties
– bring the mask to your nose and place the ties over the crown of your head,
– then secure the mask by tying them in a bow.
- If the surgical mask has elastic bands
– bring the mask to your nose and pull the top band over your head, and let it rest on the crown of your head,
– pull the bottom strap over your head and let it rest on the nape of your neck.
- Mould or pinch the nose strip to conform to the shape of your nose.
- Pull the bottom of the surgical mask over your mouth and chin.
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How To Remove A Surgical Mask Correctly
After use, the surgical mask will be dirty and contaminated and must be removed and disposed of properly.
So please follow these instructions, to avoid infecting yourself while removing your mask :
- Clean your hands with soap and water, or hand sanitiser, before touching the mask.
- AVOID touching the front of the mask, because it is contaminated. Only touch the ear loops / ear ties / ear bands.
- If the surgical mask has ear loops – hold and unhook both ear loops and gently lift the mask away from your face.
- If the surgical mask has ties – untie the bottom bow first, followed by the top bow, before pulling the mask away from your face
- If the surgical mask has elastic bands – lift the bottom strap over your head first, and then pull the top strap over your head
- Holding the mask only by the ear loops / ear ties / ear bands, dispose of the mask in the trash.
- Clean your hands with soap and water, or hand sanitiser again, before touching anything else.
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Surgical Mask : Where To Buy?
Now, we have to point out that surgical masks cannot filter air pollution, especially the dangerous PM2.5 particulates.
Surgical masks are designed to filter out bacteria, not tiny particulates in air pollution.
But if you want to buy surgical masks, make sure they are proper 3-layer surgical masks, and not 2-ply face masks. Here are some online purchase links :
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