Many people are choosing to wear a mask in public to prevent their mouth and nose droplets from reaching other people or shared surfaces. Here’s advice from Sunnybrook Hospital for all mask wearers.

It’s important to wear your mask properly. Wearing it incorrectly can actually put you at a higher risk of catching COVID-19 or other infections.

Follow these steps to make sure you wear it right:

Clean your hands

Be sure to clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub before you touch your mask to put it on, and again after you have put it on.

Cover your mouth and nose

Use the ear loops or ties to put on the mask. Make sure the mask covers both your mouth and nose. If you are using a medical mask, press down on the wire part so it molds to the bridge of your nose.

Leave it be

Once you have your mask on, do not touch it. Leave it be.

Remove it carefully

When it’s time to remove the mask, clean your hands again before you touch it. Remove it from the ear loops or ties. Do not touch the front of the mask.

Store it safely

If you remove your mask to eat or drink, or because you are at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from others, you should place it carefully on a clean surface or in a clean container (e.g., Tupperware) with the part that was on your mouth and nose facing up. If you use a container, be sure to clean it regularly. Remember to always clean your hands before and after touching your mask.

Put it in the garbage

Once you are finished with your mask, put it in the garbage. If you are using a cloth mask, promptly put the mask in the washing machine. It should be washed after each day it is worn.

Some mask dos:

  • Always, always, always clean your hands before and after touching your mask (e.g., before and after putting it on, and before and after taking it off)
  • Wear your mask firmly over your nose and mouth.
  • Replace your mask if it gets wet, damaged or soiled (for example you touch it with dirty hands).
  • Store your mask in a clean location between uses.
  • Put your mask in the garbage when you are done with it.

Some mask don’ts:

  • Don’t touch or fiddle with your mask once it’s on.
  • Do not wear your mask on your chin, head or hanging off your ear.
  • Do not wear a wet, damaged or soiled mask.
  • Do not put your mask in your pocket or purse then wear it again.
  • Don’t toss your used mask on the ground. If you do, someone else has to pick it up and could get contaminated.