Nurses Share How to Wear a Face Mask to Avoid Germs + What Not to Do

Nurses Share How to Wear a Face Mask to Avoid Germs + What Not to Do

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The choice to wear a face mask could be a valuable tool in preventing the spread of germs and viruses.

A recent study shows that face coverings reduce up to a threefold the spread of viruses. Respiratory diseases are most commonly spread through coughing, sneezing, or talking when tiny droplets from the mouth or nose land on another person.


But even as they help in reducing the spread of viruses, coverings could lead to more reinfections if you do not adhere to proper safety guidelines.

What are face masks? Can they help?

Masks are coverings made from different materials with ties or elastic bands that help cover your nose and mouth, hence preventing the spread of viruses. Surgical masks are the most common and effective ones.

If you wear them correctly, masks help reduce the transmission of relatively large microorganisms splashes and droplets.

Surgical three-layered masks feature the following:


  • Outer layer to repel body fluids such as blood
  • Middle layer which filters pathogens
  • Inner layer for the absorption of moisture in exhaled air

Some face masks may not be able to help against some particles, given the edges don’t fit tightly around the mouth and nose.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from germs when you go out.

Who Should Wear Face Masks?

Anyone getting out in public, or where the risk of contracting respiratory-related viruses are high,  should wear a face mask to avoid contracting or spreading the same.

However, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that people wear face masks during a viral outbreak, especially:

  • Those who are suffering from specific respiratory illness
  • Those showing signs and symptoms of the illness
  • Those taking care of patients suffering from respiratory illnesses.

For health workers, however, WHO recommends that they use surgical masks and take strict safety measures since they are at higher risk. They include the N95 and FFP3, which help to offer protection against tiny particles and to filter out 95% particles.


The masks also have a tight-fitting to prevent possible leakage on the edges.

Surgical masks are also fluid-resistant and offer protection against larger airborne particles.

Home-made masks, on the other hand, helps to reduce significantly the chances of virus spread among those not showing symptoms of the illness.

Between 24 and 48 hours of infection are mainly the most critical as you won’t even know you are infected, hence spreading it unknowingly. Wearing face-covering reduces such.

Despite their crucial role, there is little scientific backing for the use of masks for members of the public. They can easily get contaminated when people sneeze or cough around the person wearing it.

Further, they could give a false sense of security to people wearing them, making them ignore other essential measures such as proper hand hygiene and the need for social distance, which are the most effective preventive measures.

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When to Wear a Face Mask

According to the World Health Organization, only wear a mask when experiencing the symptoms of respiratory infections such as cough.


WHO also recommends that you wear a mask when offering care for a respiratory-illness patient, more specifically when you’re 6 feet close to the patient.

Surgical masks, for instance, effectively trap bigger respiratory illness droplets. However, the case could be different with some viruses such as the coronavirus because;

  • They have tiny particles.
  • There can be a possible leakage through the areas not adequately covered by the mask given it doesn’t fit tightly on the edges.

The Center for Disease Control also recommends that the public use masks when in public gatherings, even teaching people how to make them.

Bottom-line is, masks act as a spread barrier between the caregiver and the patient and not a shield. Hence, CDC does not declare them bullet-proof for viral safety since they’re not sealed and could allow in small particles.



Whether or not you’re sick, wearing a mask when in public or gathering is a simple show of care to the people around you.

Putting On a Mask – The Dos

While face masks can be useful in preventing the spread of larger virus particles, they also present many risks.

The outer part of the mask is more likely to be contaminated. When it so happens, touching it and touching your face without taking proper measures such as hand hygiene could lead to contamination. If you have to wear a mask, observe the following;

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