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How to wear a medical mask correctly: myths and reality
How to wear a medical mask correctly: myths and reality

Although the pandemic has subsided, the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus still remains. In addition, the time for seasonal flu begins, from infection which also helps a medical mask in combination with other measures of antiviral prophylaxis.


In this material, we will tell you how to properly put on and wear a medical mask, so as not to get infected yourself and not infect others. Contents of the article 1. Disposable medical face mask 2. Medical mask with valve 2.1 How to put on a disposable mask 2.2 How to put on a reusable mask 3. How to wear a medical mask 3.1 How to wear a disposable mask 3.2 How to wear a reusable mask Hide

Disposable Medical Face Mask

A disposable medical mask is a barrier-type personal protective equipment that is used to prevent pathogens from entering the respiratory tract. The product is a rectangle made of non-woven hypoallergenic material with high filtering properties and has elastic bands, with which it is attached behind the ears. Wearing a disposable medical mask is not a 100% guarantee that you will not get sick, but if used correctly, it reduces this chance. There are three main "antiviral" properties of the mask:

  • filters the inhaled air, due to which a certain percentage of potentially dangerous microorganisms settle on the outside of the product;
  • helps not to touch the face with hands, on which there may be particles of the virus;
  • helps not to infect others, thereby preventing the spread of infection.

It is believed that the sides of a medical mask matter. In fact, standard disposable products are equally protected by either party. Blue and white masks are usually worn with a colored layer on the outside, but this is just a habit. But if the mask has a water-repellent impregnation, it is placed in an untreated dark layer inside. If a nose brace is available, the outside of the medical mask should be the one that hides the flexible rib.

If the product provides for any special wearing mode, the manufacturer indicates this in the instructions.

Some people prefer to wear black medical masks, which go well with everyday wardrobe and do not cause such strong associations with illness. They can also be worn on either side.

The most common option today is a disposable three-layer medical mask. The filter in it is located between the two middle and outer layers.

Medical mask with valve


A medical mask with a valve (respirator) fits more tightly to the face than a conventional three-layer medical mask. This is achieved thanks to a more anatomical shape that follows the contours of the face.

When you wear a medical mask with a valve, air enters through a built-in filter (the same valve). Moreover, only inhaled air is filtered, not exhaled air, therefore, socially, an ordinary disposable medical mask is much more useful: a respirator protects the wearer, but not others. Despite the holes provided for breathing, breathing in a respirator is still quite difficult, so it is not suitable for people with respiratory diseases.

Valve medical masks differ in the degree of filtration. There are three classes of respirators: FFP1, FFP2 and FFP 3. You can determine which class the product belongs to either by the appropriate marking or by the color of the valve:

  • white or yellow valve corresponds to FFP1 class;
  • blue valve and elastic bands - FFP2;
  • red rubber bands and red flap - FFP3;
  • lack of the above signs - FFP1.

The higher the class, the more powerful the respirator. FFP1 can be used as a medical mask. It is important to ensure that the product fits as tightly as possible. The valve allows you to wear a respirator longer than a disposable medical mask, since the surface is moistened more slowly. The period of wearing a medical mask with a valve is up to 4-8 hours.

FFP2 can be worn for up to 6-8 hours, but it is even more difficult to breathe in it, so you are unlikely to withstand that long. Remove the respirator with extreme caution, without touching the outside. To protect against the virus, the medical valve mask can only be used once. FFP3 is a practically "impenetrable" respirator that is used when working with radioactive substances. WHO recommends that this class of respirators be worn by medical personnel during contact with patients.

How to properly wear a medical mask


How to put on a disposable mask

  • Before putting on a disposable medical mask, wash your hands with soap and water. If this is not possible, treat your palms with an antiseptic.
  • Carefully remove the mask from the package and, holding the elastic bands, apply it with the white side to your face. The edge with the flexible metal plate should be on top.
  • Hook the rubber bands behind your ears and spread the mask so that it covers your mouth, nose and chin. If the mask is tied, tie it tight at the back.
  • Using a metal strip, "seat" the mask tightly on the bridge of the nose.

How to put on a reusable mask

  • Re-wearing the reusable medical mask can only be done after special treatment. At home, you need to wash the mask with soap or other detergent, then steam thoroughly with an iron. In order for the mask to dry, at the final stage it must be ironed with a hot iron as usual.
  • Before putting on the reusable medical mask, wash your hands with soap or an antiseptic.
  • Take the mask by the loops and put it on, covering the entire lower part of the face.
  • You need to remove the product, also holding the elastic bands, touching them only from the inside.
  • After use, put the mask in a bag, close and store in it until washing.

How to wear a medical mask correctly

How to wear a disposable mask

  • When wearing a disposable medical face mask, do not touch it with your hands! If this does happen, treat your hands with an antiseptic.
  • If you feel that the mask is wet, it should be replaced immediately. The maximum wearing time is 2 hours.
  • To remove the mask, grasp the rubber bands behind your ears. Fold the product with the white side (the one that was close to your face) inward and discard. Wash your hands with soap or sanitizer.
  • If possible, place the mask in a plastic bag before disposing of it.
  • For men, it is advisable to shave before putting on a medical mask.

How to wear a reusable mask

Strictly speaking, reusable masks are not a medical device, so experts question their effectiveness. If you do choose just such a mask, it can be re-worn only after the correct processing, which we have already described.

An important rule that you must always remember: you cannot wear a wet mask. The drying process after washing can be accelerated by using a hot iron. If the mask becomes wet while wearing, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. While a disposable medical mask can simply be replaced, a reusable mask will only regain its properties when you wash it with soap.

Whichever mask you choose, wearing it must be combined with other safety measures: maintaining social distance, washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, using antiseptics, and treating the surfaces you come in contact with.

The video posted on our website clearly demonstrates how to properly wear a medical mask.

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