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  • Kevin Langley

The Proper Way to Wear Face Masks

Personal protective equipment—from surgical masks to medical-grade gloves—is a powerful tool in our fight against the spread of disease, but only when used correctly. In particular, face masks that aren’t worn properly provide you and the people around you with little protection. However, if we all follow a few simple guidelines when wearing our reusable and medical-grade masks, we can work together to reduce the transmission of airborne illnesses, including COVID-19.

First, be sure to clean your hands thoroughly before and after you touch your face mask, and refrain from touching your mask while it’s on your face. Before you put your mask on, make sure to inspect it for damage or dirt, especially if you prefer reusable masks over single-use masks. When the mask is on your face, be certain that it covers your mouth, nose, and chin, and adjust the straps so that there are no gaps. Remove your mask by the straps and pull it away from your face, ensuring that no one is within your vicinity. If you use a reusable mask, don’t forget to wash it once a day. If you use a single-use mask, place it in a resealable, plastic bag and discard.

As we all learn new public health skills, it’s inevitable that some bad habits will emerge. The best way to avoid common mask-wearing mistakes is simply to educate yourself and the people around you about the importance of wearing face masks properly. Common mask-wearing mistakes include:

  • Wearing Ripped or Damp Masks

  • Wearing Loose Masks

  • Removing Masks with Others Around

  • Pulling Down Masks When Talking

  • Touching the Front of Masks

  • Sharing Masks

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