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How to Wear Face Mask Properly

Wearing a face mask in public helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 — but only if worn properly, covering both your nose and mouth. Read our mask-wearing tips to get the maximum protection for yourself and others.

There are several types of facemasks. The most common are:

  • Medical (or surgical) masks – for general public use
  • N95 particle respirator masks – for health care professionals

Face Mask

Face masks are one tool utilized for preventing the spread of disease.  They may also be called dental, isolation, laser, medical, procedure, or surgical masks. Face masks are loose-fitting masks that cover the nose and mouth, and have ear loops or ties or bands at the back of the head. There are many different brands and they come in different colors. It is important to use a face mask approved by the FDA.

What is a face mask used for

Facemasks help limit the spread of germs.  When someone talks, coughs, or sneezes they may release tiny drops into the air that can infect others. If someone is ill a face masks can reduce the number of germs that the wearer releases and can protect other people from becoming sick.  A face mask also protects the wearer’s nose and mouth from splashes or sprays of body fluids.

Steps to wear Face Mask

  1. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask.
  2. Remove a mask from the box and make sure there are no obvious tears or holes in either side of the mask.
  3. Determine which side of the mask is the top. The side of the mask that has a stiff bendable edge is the top and is meant to mold to the shape of your nose.
  4. Determine which side of the mask is the front. The colored side of the mask is usually the front and should face away from you, while the white side touches your face.
  5. Follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using.
    • Face Mask with Ear loops: Hold the mask by the ear loops. Place a loop around each ear.
    • Face Mask with Ties: Bring the mask to your nose level and place the ties over the crown of your head and secure with a bow.
    • Face Mask with Bands: Hold the mask in your hand with the nosepiece or top of the mask at fingertips, allowing the headbands to hang freely below hands.  Bring the mask to your nose level and pull the top strap over your head so that it rests over the crown of your head.  Pull the bottom strap over your head so that it rests at the nape of your neck.
  6. Mold or pinch the stiff edge to the shape of your nose.
  7. If using a face mask with ties: Then take the bottom ties, one in each hand, and secure with a bow at the nape of your neck.
  8. Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.

Tips to remove a face mask

  1. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask.Avoid touching the front of the mask. The front of the mask is contaminated. Only touch the ear loops/ties/band.Follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using.
  2. Face Mask with Ear loops: Hold both of the ear loops and gently lift and remove the mask.
  3. Face Mask with Ties: Untie the bottom bow first then untie the top bow and pull the mask away from you as the ties are loosened.
  4. Face Mask with Bands: Lift the bottom strap over your head first then pull the top strap over your head.
  5. Throw the mask in the trash. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer once disposed the mask.

Important Note: If you are using a reusable cloth mask, at the end of the day, take the mask off from the straps (not touching the front), place in a pillowcase to keep the ties with the mask. Wash it in the washing machine with hot water and completely dry on medium or high heat.​

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