How to use a surgical face mask

Wearing a surgical face mask (Type IIR face mask) is mandatory in many health and care settings. But if surgical face masks are not used in the correct way it can jeopardise the efforts of stopping the virus to spread.

The WHO advises to make wearing a mask a normal part of your day-to-day routine and use internalise the proper use, correct storing and appropriate disposal of surgical masks.

The help you and your staff to use your type IIR face masks in the appropriate way we have summarised the WHO advise for the use of surgical face masks for you.

How to use surgical face masks, the Do’s:

  • Make sure you only use tested and MHRA certified face masks.
  • Wash your hand before touching the mask.
  • Inspect the face mask for tears and holes.
  • Find the top side, where the metal piece or stiff edge is.
  • Ensure the coloured-side face outwards.
  • Place the metal piece or stiff edge over your nose and fit with light pressure.
  • Adjust the IIR face masks to your face without leaving gaps on the sides
  • Avoid touching the face mask
  • Remove the face masks from behind the ears or head
  • Keep the used mask away from you and surfaces while removing it
  • Discard the face mask immediately after use, preferably into a closed bin.
  • Wash your hand after discarding the face masks.
How to use a surgical face mask (type IIR)
(image source: WHO – Website)

How to use surgical face mask, the Don’ts

  • Do not use a ripped or damp surgical face mask.
  • Do not wear the mask only over mouth or nose.
  • Do not wear a loose face mask.
  • Do not touch the front of the mask.
  • Do not remove the mask to talk to someone or do other things that would require touching the mask.
  • Do not leave the used face mask within the reach of others.
  • Do not reuse the mask.
How to use a surgical face mask.
(image source: WHO – Website)

And always be aware that a face mask alone cannot protect you from COVID-19. Keep a distance of at least one metre when ever possible, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly why wearing a mask.

You can find further advise on the correct use of face masks on the homepage of the Word Health Organization.