The importance of wearing a face mask in preventing the spread of the coronavirus was well established by now. As a result, it is same to assume that you’ve been wearing a face mask for months now. The question is, have you been wearing it correctly? Since most chances are you had never worn a mask before the pandemic’s outburst, it’s easy to get confused about the right way to put it on, take it off, and sanitize it. There are many mistakes you can make wearing a mask, but there is a prominent issue many doctors have witnessed recently – wearing the face mask upside down.
Of course, the correct way to put on a mask depends on the type of mask you are using. While homemade masks, such as bandanas or scarves, don’t have a definite top or bottom, surgical masks do. You can generally identify the top of a mask by locating the metal piece within the mask. Most masks have a “top that includes pliable metal that can bend around the bridge of your nose to create a tighter fit,” Bruce Y. Lee, MD, wrote for Forbes. “If your mask is upside down, this nose bridge wire or strip will be instead on your neck, which will make it useless.”
According to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, it’s crucial to “determine which side of the mask is the top. The side of the mask that has a stiff bendable edge is the top and is meant to mold to the shape of your nose.” Make sure to mold the metal strip, because if you don’t, then you’re allowing potentially contaminated respiratory particles to be released through the edges of your mask. Wearing your mask upside-down not only makes it ineffective but also allows the mask to easily slip down your face while you’re talking or walking, which could expose your nose or cause you to touch the mask and possibly contaminate it. Please be careful and safe. Take care of yourself and others by wearing your face mask right.