How to properly wear a face mask


Since the SARS outbreak in 2002, and most recently the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, Hong Kongers have been hyper-aware of maintaining their personal hygiene, washing their hands frequently and wearing face masks for protection (and to avoid spreading germs). If you have a face mask to wear yourself, make sure you do it correctly.

How to put on a face mask

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap. Create a lather across your palms, the back of your hands, wrists, in between your fingers, and under your fingernails. Scrub all over your hands for at least 20 seconds and rinse under lukewarm water. Dry hands with tissue towels or a hand dryer.
  2. Inspect the packaging for tears or openings before removing the mask.
  3. Check that the front side of the mask is facing away from your face and that the top metal strip is above the bridge of your nose.
  4. Press firmly down on the metal strip so that it fits around your nose.
  5. With the face mask in position, follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using:
    • Face mask with ear loops: Pinch the ear loops and pull them over and around each ear.
    • Face mask with ties: Position your mask according to steps four and five, place the ties over the crown of your head and secure with a bow.
    • Face mask with bands: First place the mask across the face so it covers your nose and mouth. Stretch the top band over your head and position above the crown. The bottom band should be pulled over the head so it rests at the nape of your neck.
  6. Press along the side to ensure that there are no gaps, and check that the mask isn’t too tight. You should feel comfortable wearing a mask.

How to remove and dispose a face mask

Wrong way to remove a surgical mask

  1. The first rule is to never touch and pull from the surface of the mask directly. Over the period of its use, the mask would have filtered many foreign particles on its surface, which you would want to avoid coming into contact with. Simply follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using:
    • Face mask with ear loops: Pull on the ear loops over the ears, gently lift over and remove the mask away from your face.
    • Face mask with ties: Untie the bottom bow first and then untie the top bow. Pull the mask away from your face with your hands still holding the ties.
    • Face mask with bands: Lift the bottom strap over and away from your head first, pull the top strap over your head and the mask away from the face.
  2. Dispose of the used mask in the bin.

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