Wearing a surgical mask is CRITICAL in protecting yourself against influenza and the new Wuhan coronavirus, but many people do not actually know how to CORRECTLY wear and remove a surgical mask.
While most know better than to wear a surgical mask over their eyes, they still wear it incorrectly, and worse – take it off the wrong way and infect themselves in the process!
In this guide, we will teach you how to put on and remove a surgical mask, the right way… to avoid infecting yourself.
Please SHARE this with your family and friends, so they can stay protected!
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Make Sure You Use A 3-Ply Surgical Mask!
First, please make sure you buy and use 3-ply surgical masks, and not fashion masks, or 2-ply hygiene masks.
Fashion masks are reusable, made from washable cotton, and often lack a filter although some may boast activated charcoal filters – these are useless against viruses and bacteria.
A proper 3-ply surgical or medical mask, on the other hand, has three layers – each with very specific functions :
- 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
The 3-ply surgical mask has been proven to be as effective as N95 respirators in preventing viral infections like influenza.
Finally, we have 2-ply hygiene face masks that are cheap and made from the same material – fabric or polypropylene or other kinds of non-woven material.
With NO FILTER layer, these hygiene masks are useless against haze, viruses and bacteria. They are commonly used in spas and restaurants.
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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 with the stiff bendable strip 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, and secure 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, and then 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 mask will be dirty / 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.
Where To Buy Surgical Masks
Please make sure you only purchase proper 3-layer surgical masks, and not 2-ply hygiene masks or fashion masks. Here are some online purchase options :
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