What is the Correct way to wear Surgical Mask

What is the Correct way to wear Surgical Mask

You may have comes across the dilemma of how to properly wear a surgical mask (also known as a face mask). Should you wear it on it's white side or it's colored side. Which one is really the correct way to wear surgical mask?

What is the Correct way to wear Surgical Mask
What is the Correct way to wear Surgical Mask

@healthbiztips by Arlene Gentallan

Here's what they tell...

There are those who tell that the correct way to wear a surgical mask is to wear it with the colored side facing you when you want to prevent your infection (like respiratory tract infection) from spreading to other people. On the other hand, if you want to protect yourself from infection, you should wear the white side of the face mask facing you.

This notion assumes that the colored part of the surgical mask contains the filter which traps harmful bacteria and foreign particles. However, the above way of wearing a surgical mask has no valid basis. Even manufacturers of surgical mask don't have these instructions for donning the face mask.


What is the correct way to wear surgical mask?

It is important that a surgical mask is worn properly to ensure that the individual is getting the maximum protection it can offer. A surgical mask has 2 sides -- a white side and a colored side (usually blue, but other colors does exist such as green, red, yellow, and even white). You should wear it with the colored part facing outward. The bendable metal part at the edge of the face mask should be pinched to fit snugly on the bridge of your nose.

If you're wearing a surgical mask correctly, it's white part should be in contact with your skin and covers your nose, mouth, cheeks, and chin.

Whether you want to protect yourself from microorganisms rampant in public areas or prevent other people from getting ill with your infection, there is only one correct way to wear a surgical mask. Surgical mask is designed in a way where the white side should be in contact with your face.


The layers of a surgical mask: which one is the filter

The usual surgical mask has 3 ply containing 3 layers. The middle layer acts as a filter. Both 3 layers are non-woven and offers a good degree of water-resistance.


The Purpose of wearing surgical mask

Seeing many people wearing surgical mask all at once can evoke fear in some people as it may seem that their is an outbreak of a respiratory infection. However, in certain places, there are people who regularly wears surgical mask to protect themselves from environmental air pollution.

Wearing surgical mask serves 2 purpose. One is to protect the wearer from contracting an infection. Second, if the wearer has an infection that can be transmitted through the air or secretions, it helps protect those people around him/her.

Whether it be in a hospital setting, public places, or residential area, wearing surgical mask serves an important role in preventing the spread of infectious microorganisms, but it's not just wearing a surgical mask that counts, it is of utmost importance to know the correct way to wear surgical mask.


Important Reminders when Wearing Surgical Mask

Here are some of the things you have to bear in mind when wearing surgical mask:

  • Never use a surgical mask for more than 1 day.
  • It is ideal that you only use a surgical mask once.
  • Wash your hands before wearing a surgical mask.
  • Avoid touching surgical mask once you wear it because doing so will facilitate the transmission of microorganisms from your hand to your mask, thus contaminating it.
  • If you have to readjust the surgical mask you are wearing, make sure you first wash your hands or use a sanitizer.
  • Folding a surgical mask on your chin to expose your nose and mouth is an incorrect practice when wearing surgical mask.
  • When done using a surgical mask, do not place it in improper areas such as your pocket and around your arms with the intent of reusing it. This incorrect way of handling a surgical mask cause both yourself and the face mask to be contaminated.
  • If your surgical mask is already soaked, then it's time to change it.
  • There is a correct way both to wear and remove a surgical mask. When removing your surgical mask, do not touch it's outer layer to avoid contaminating your hands with it's filtered microbes. Remove it from it's earpiece, fold it inside out, then throw in the proper waste bin.
  • Wearing surgical mask is effective to prevent the transmission of droplet infection, but don't forget that hand hygiene is also important.
  • Surgical mask is not the ideal type of mask if you want to protect yourself from airborne infection such as tuberculosis. For these cases, it would require a higher specification such as the N91 face mask.

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