Over the past few weeks, there has been conflicting information about whether or not people who are not healthcare providers and essential workers need to wear protective gear such as face masks. The latest update from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention advises people use cloth face masks coverings, made from household items such as bandanas, to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
In the event that you do choose to wear a medical mask, it's important to know the proper way to put it on and take it off to prevent contaminating yourself. Darien Sutton, MD, MBA, an emergency physician based in New York City, created the above easy-to-follow video that describes best practices when you put on or take off a face mask.
How to Properly Put On and Remove a Face Mask
- Before you touch your face, wash your hands with soap to decrease the risk of contaminating yourself.
- Place the mask on your face with the strap on the outside of the mask. Secure your nose and make sure that your chin fits properly in the mask. Place both bands over your head. One should go above your ears and the other should go below your ears. Check that the mask fits securely on your face.
- Take deep breaths in and out to see if air is escaping anywhere.
- To take off the mask (this is the most dangerous part, according to Dr. Sutton), don't touch the mask because you don't want to contaminate yourself. Instead, take off one elastic band at a time. Start with the top band followed by the bottom band which should be used to remove the mask from your face completely. This will prevent you from touching your face and contaminating yourself with respiratory droplets on the outside of the mask.
POPSUGAR aims to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information about the coronavirus, but details and recommendations about this pandemic may have changed since publication. For the latest information on COVID-19, please check out resources from the WHO, CDC, and local public health departments.