Coronavirus pandemic: WHO’s guidance on the don’ts of wearing masks

Ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus took over the world, masks have become an important part of our daily life, and are mandatory in most public places around the world given that the coronavirus is an airborne virus. In June, the United Nations’ health agency, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its guidance and asked governments to make the use of fabric masks in public areas where there could be a high transmission risk mandatory in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. The WHO has shared a lot of information regarding the proper usage of masks, and the latest information is regarding the don’ts of mask usage. Read on to ensure you are using your mask correctly and protect yourself and your near ones from possible infection from the coronavirus:

Do not wear a loose mask

A loose mask can easily slip off your face and expose you to the virus, it is best to wear a mask that fits your face correctly, not too big or small, enough to cover at least half your face properly.

Do not wear the mask under the nose

The coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets, so this is a pretty obvious point.


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Do not keep the mask under the chin

The point of a protective mask is to cover your nose and mouth, so if you’re going to wear it on your chin, the whole purpose is lost.

Do not take off the mask while talking to someone

As the virus can spread through saliva and is also airborne, talking to someone without a mask is simply exposing oneself to possible risk of contamination.

Do not share your mask with someone

We never know who may have the coronavirus and be an asymptomatic carrier, it is best to use one’s own mask and not share.

Do not adjust or reposition the mask once it has been put on

In a previous guidance regarding the proper use of a fabric mask the WHO advised to always clean one’s hands before putting on the mask, to inspect it for tears or holes, and to not use it if it is damaged. It also explained that one has to make sure the mask covers the mouth, nose, and chin, leaving no gaps on the sides. The WHO also guided to not touch the mask while wearing it and to change it if it gets dirty or wet. One must also clean their hands before and after taking off their mask, ensuring to take it off from the ear loops and never from the front.

Regarding the care of fabric masks, the WHO explained that if one’s your fabric mask is not dirty or wet and is to be reused, it is best to keep it in a resealable plastic bag. It went on, If you need to use it again, hold the mask at the elastic loops when removing it from the bag. Wash fabric masks in soap or detergent and preferably hot water (at least 60 degrees) at least once a day.

The WHO site also reminded that “the use of a fabric mask alone is not sufficient to provide an adequate level of protection. Maintain a minimum physical distance of at least 1 metre from others and frequently clean your hands”.

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