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How to Properly Wear and Dispose of a Surgical Mask?

We will overcome the COVID-19 pandemic by being aware and spreading awareness among people on the simple rules that need to be followed by everyone. Alongside other preventive measures like social distancing and hand hygiene, it has become clear that all people should wear masks while out in public. Different types of face masks are available for people to wear during the current pandemic. Surgical masks are one of the most effective ones to be used for protection against the novel coronavirus.


A surgical mask is a fluid-resistant and disposable device that blocks large-particle droplets, splashes, or splatter that may contain viruses from entering your mouth and nose. It also prevents exposure of your saliva and respiratory secretions to others. Surgical masks are highly effective and ensure your safety if used the correct way.

Therefore, you must follow infection prevention precautions when putting the mask on and taking the face mask off. Always read the product instructions on the use and storage of the face mask. Here are the steps that you need to follow while using a surgical mask.

How to Put on a Surgical Mask

1. Always remember to shave off your facial hair so that the mask can give you a proper fit. In case, shaving is not possible, use the mask in a manner that provides you with the closest fit.

2. Clean your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry them with a clean towel before touching the mask. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands off any germs before wearing a surgical mask.

3. Inspect the mask for any tears and holes. Throw away any that are defective.

4. Find the top side of the mask. The colored side of the face mask is usually the front and should face away from you.

5. Hold the mask by the ear loops. Place each ear loop around your ears. Tie it securely to minimize any gaps between the face and mask and make sure to put the mask in a way that it covers your nose, mouth, and chin.

6. Avoid touching the mask while wearing it.

How to Remove a Surgical Mask

1. Clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before taking off a surgical mask.

2. Do not touch the inside of the mask. It may be contaminated. Only hold the ear loops and gently remove the face mask.

3. Keep the mask away from you and other surfaces while removing it.

Surgical masks are not reusable. Hence, discard the face mask after every use and dispose of them immediately upon removal in a closed bin.

4. Do not touch your face after removing the mask.

5. Perform hand hygiene after disposing of the mask.

Other Things to Note:

o Loosely fitted masks do not prevent the virus.

o A ripped or damp mask is of no use.

o Avoid removing your mask to talk or do other things that require touching the face mask.

o Never leave a used mask within reach of others.

o Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer while wearing the mask.

o Avoid touching your face while wearing a mask.

o Still, practice social distancing when wearing the mask. Read more on why despite Masks, social distancing important in the fight against COVID-19?

It will take some more time until vaccination or herd immunity finally becomes a reality. In the meanwhile, we need to realize the importance of face masks and get used to wearing them on an immediate basis while practicing social distancing.

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