Wearing Surgical Masks 101 – What Are the Do’s and Don’ts?

Surgical masks have always been an important measure in protecting oneself and the people around them. When worn appropriately, surgical masks have the ability to limit the spread of microorganisms that cause infection.

Surgical masks filter the air we both inhale and exhale. Masks prevent the inhalation of microorganisms that cause illnesses. At the same time, masks prevent letting the microorganisms we exhale out too. In a way, it is a two-way filtration system that benefits us and the people around us. When the people around us talk, sneeze, laugh, or sing, there is a tendency for the droplets to be released. Face masks are a crucial part of controlling infection spread and cross-contamination.

Are all people need to wear surgical masks? Who is required to wear it? Some examples include people diagnosed with respiratory infections, individuals taking care of those people with respiratory infections, health care workers in their workplace, and people going to crowded places. Keep in mind that not everyone is required to wear a mask

Masks are significant, especially during these trying times. But are we wearing it correctly? Are we following the proper ways of utilizing surgical masks? What are the do’s and don’ts of wearing surgical masks?


  • Ensure proper coverage – Check that the surgical face mask covers your entire nose and the entire mouth. Avoid placing the mask too low especially placing it under the nose. In that way, the air you are breathing in will not be filtered since the nose is not properly covered.

  • Avoid touching the face mask – Once the face mask is properly placed to cover the nose and the mouth, you should avoid touching it. This is to prevent microorganisms from coming in contact with the mask. Again, when dirty hands come in contact with the mask, it may harbor microorganisms that may lead to certain diseases.


  • Reuse surgical masks – Most surgical masks are for single-use only. Once the surgical mask is used, it must be discarded properly. Reusing it is not advisable because the harbored microorganisms may grow on it and may be inhaled when it is used again. Thus, this may lead to the development of diseases.

  • Put masks on children younger than 2 years of age – Children younger than 2 years may have an increased risk of being suffocated. Younger children may have a difficult time breathing because of the snug fit of the masks. The snug fit of surgical masks may give the children less access to air while wearing a mask with a loose fit will not provide the needed protection. Also, younger children are not able to remove the masks themselves.

Mask-wearing is just one of the many ways to limit contracting respiratory infections. In combatting infections, we must also observe good hygiene that includes washing the hands frequently, using alcohol and hand sanitizers, and practicing sneeze and cough etiquette. Boosting the immune system is also another effective way of preventing droplet and airborne infections. Eat good food, take vitamins, and live a healthy lifestyle.

We must also always keep in mind the do's and don'ts we learned from this article in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Wear your masks properly and be protected from infection.

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