How to wear a face mask

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, folks are starting to wear face masks in public to help inhibit the spread of the virus (which spreads through respiratory droplets). The guidance from the CDC has long been “only wear a mask if you have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms”, but considering mounting evidence of asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmission, “assume you have it and act accordingly” is the best practice for helping inhibit spread—and acting as if you have the virus and are spreading it implies wearing a mask.

Update April 19: CDC now recommends a “cloth face covering” to help prevent the spread of the virus. They have instructions for creating such a mask, including a no-sew method if you don't have a sewing machine.

Buuuuuut, a lot of people wear their masks incorrectly, for a variety of reasons:

But all of these compromise the effectiveness of the mask. To use a mask effectively, you must wear it correctly and consistently—even when doing so is inconvenient. And when you do have to take your mask down, put it back up as soon as possible and then wash your hands!

See also

Dr. Jacquelyn Gill wrote up a similar list of tips for wearing disposable gloves, which you should read in addition to this document (particularly if you've been wearing, or thinking of wearing, disposable gloves in response to the crisis, and are not already trained in how to do so correctly).

Correct mask-wearing techniques

One more cautionary note

Wearing a mask does not exempt you from your other duties:

All of these things together stack up to a potent defense against the spread of the virus that can help flatten the curve. Doing only one of these things does not mean you should throw the rest out!

Illustrations

Some of us are visual learners, so here are some illustrations to visualize the right and wrong ways listed above.

Correct

Correctly wearing a mask with ear loops. Correctly wearing a mask with head elastics.

Only correct in the privacy of your own home

Not wearing a mask.

Please wear a mask whenever you go out in public.

Incorrect examples that I have seen (in person or in pictures)

A mask being worn over the mouth and chin only, with the nose exposed. A mask pulled down below the wearer's face. Possibly done “temporarily” at some point for some purpose, but the wearer should have immediately put it back up and then washed their hands. A mask with head elastics, being worn over the forehead rather than the nose and mouth.

Wearing a mask over the nose and mouth, but above the chin (e.g., because you didn't pull the pleats taut). A mask with head elastics, with only the upper one being worn, and the lower one hanging down from the unfastened bottom of the mask. A mask with head elastics, with only the lower one being worn, and the mask hanging below the wearer's head. Possibly removed “temporarily” at some point for some purpose, but the wearer should have immediately put it back up and then washed their hands.

A mask with ear loops, hanging from only one of them on the side of the wearer's head. A mask being held in the hand rather than worn over the face.

Silliness

A mask resting atop a person's head. A mask worn over a person's eyes. A mask being eaten. Do not bring a magnet near your mask.


2020-04-19 https://boredzo.org/how-to-wear-a-mask