Common mistakes wearing a face mask for COVID-19 Coronavirus protection

Face masks – like it or not they’ve become the new norm, especially here in PA where they’re required for now during the pandemic.

We’ve seen all types – dressed up with logos of your favorite team and other cool designs, but if you’re not wearing them right, they’re not helping and could be putting you at risk.

KN95 or N95 facemasks, much like hand sanitizer, are in high demand because they follow a standard PPE protection grade, but cloth masks as are just as common, so we want to help our patients avoid some simple mistakes when wearing either.

Problem #1: The mask hangs too loosely on your face.

KN95 respirators that doctors use, properly worn, are fitted close to the face. But a surgical mask or a homemade cloth mask, may have a gap on the sides if worn too loosely. Make sure to fit them right if you’re making one.

Problem #2: The face mask covers only the tip of your nose.

It’s important to wear your mask on the bridge of your nose, not just at the tip/end of it. Improper wear creates a gap where contaminants can come it. Fully covering up to the bridge of your nose ensures you create a good seal and barrier to outside risks.

Problem #3: The mask only covers your mouth

Waring your mask too low is another problem – you need to cover your nose! The nose and mouth are areas that are uniquely susceptible to airborne germs, so covering one and not the other is bad news for you and everyone you come in contact with.

Problem #4: The mask contacts other surfaces and areas of the body

If the coronavirus is on your body (hair, forehead, chin, neck, hands, face, etc) or on your clothing, and your mask comes into contact with those spots, it could get contaminated. Make sure you’re careful what it touches – especially the inside area, where you risk directly bringing the virus into your body.

Problem #5: Improperly removing your mask

Wash your hands before removing or putting it on, only take it off using the straps, and never touch the front to remove it. Also, don’t leave it on your neck when you’re not using it – try storing it in a zip lock baggy instead.

Problem #6: Improperly cleaning/storing your mask if you reuse it

If you want to reuse your mask, make sure it’s not contaminated itself. You can wash home made fabric masks in the washing machine. Store it in a clean bag for next use.


As always, we’re here for you and we hope these tips help you stay healthy and safe during these uncertain times.


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