The use of masks during COVID-19

Non-medical masks

Disposable Medical masks
 

Non-medical masks:

When worn properly, wearing a non-medical mask or face covering can help reduce the spread of infectious germs. Wearing a non-medical mask is recommended when it’s not possible to consistently maintain a 2 metre (6 foot) physical distance from others, such as during a trip inside a grocery store or when riding public transit.

Tips for wearing a mask:

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 70% alcohol if proper handwashing facilities are unavailable, before and after handling mask.
  • Ensure the mask is not damaged (no rips or holes on either side). If using a cloth mask, make sure it is clean and dry.
  • Use ear loops to put on and remove mask. Ensure your hair is away from your face.
  • For a mask to be effective, it must cover your nose and mouth fully.  If your mask must be adjusted, wash or sanitize your hands before and after
  • Do not share your mask with another person.
  • Avoid touching and adjusting your mask once you are wearing it.
  • Masks should be well-fitting, avoid masks that are too big, loose, or slip down easily.
  • Change your mask if it becomes damaged, soiled or moist.
  • Do not remove your mask to speak to someone.
  • Disposable masks should have the coloured side outward, white side inward, nose piece upwards.
  • Once on, do not remove your mask until you are finished needing it (for example, taking it off leaving the pharmacy and putting it on again entering a grocery store).
  • Clean your fabric masks regularly, or when they become damp or soiled. Disposable masks should be thrown out after use.
  • Whenever possible, still maintain physical distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Be aware of fraud and misinformation surrounding face masks.
  • Follow your local health authority’s advice and municipal rules around mask wearing.

How to put on a mask

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 70% alcohol if proper handwashing facilities are unavailable, before and after handling mask.
  • and after handling mask.
  • Ensure the mask is not damaged (there are no tears rips or holes on either side).
  • Hold mask by the ear loops or ties and secure snugly.
  • If there is a nose piece, mold to fit the bridge of your nose.
  • Make sure the mask is covering your nose, mouth and chin fully.

How to take off a mask:

  • Wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer if proper handwashing facilities are unavailable.
  • Grasps ear loops to remove, avoid touching the mask.
  • Discard disposable masks, wash reusable ones.
  • Wash your hands again after handling the mask.

You can clean a reusable mask by:

  • Putting it directly into the washing machine, using a hot cycle, and then dry thoroughly.
  • Washing it thoroughly by hand if a washing machine is not available, using soap and warm/hot water.

Allow the mask to dry completely before wearing it again.

Disposable Medical masks:

In certain circumstances, like for healthcare workers and those delivering frontline care to COVID-19 patients, medical masks should be worn.

Tips for wearing a disposable medical mask:

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 70% alcohol if proper handwashing facilities are unavailable, before and after handling mask.
  • Ensure the mask is not damaged (there are no tears rips or holes on either side).
  • Coloured side outward, white side inward, nose piece upwards.
  • Hold the mask by the ear loop, wrap behind ears and secure snugly. Ensure hair is away from your face.
  • Fit mask to face, mold the adjustable band to bridge of your nose and pull the bottom of the mask to below your chin.
  • For a mask to be effective, it must cover your nose and mouth fully. If your mask must be adjusted, wash or sanitize your hands before and after touching your mask.
  • Always follow protocols in place for the use of medical masks and other personal protective equipment.

To remove your mask:

  • Wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer if proper handwashing facilities are unavailable before and after handling mask.
  • Grasps ear loops to remove, avoid touching the mask.
  • Discard mask.
  • Wash your hands again after handling the mask.
Read more tips and resources for COVID-19.