Sunday 29 November, 2020

Are you contaminating your face mask? 5 tips from the Health Ministry

The Health Ministry has asked citizens to wear face masks when in public, along with other safety measures, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

But are you accidentally contaminating your face mask when you put it on and taking it off during the day?

Here are some handy tips from the Health Ministry courtesy Infection Control Nurse Keisha Prevatt-Gomez:


1. Masks must be worn correctly

Masks, when worn correctly, can prevent the spread of COVID-19. However the mask must be worn correctly, covering both the mouth and nose.

Nurse Prevatt-Gomez said when donning a mask, don’t let the mask dangle from one ear, don’t wear it under the chin, and don’t touch the part of the mask covering the face. Those behaviours can create cross-contamination.


2. Identify the inner side of the mask

Nurse Prevatt-Gomez said one should always identify the outer side of the mask and the inner side. Surgical masks often have a coloured exterior and white interior. For cloth masks, identify the inner side of the mask to keep it hygienic.


3. Store masks hygienically

Re-useable masks must be washed after use and stored safely in a sealed plastic bag or brown paper bag.

Nurse Prevatt-Gomez said masks should not be stashed in a pocket or handbag without this protection as the mask can become contaminated.


4. Sanitise hands before donning your face mask

Before putting on a mask, ensure your hands are clean by washing hands or using a hand sanitiser. Once hands are dried, apply the mask holding by the side loops, and place over the mouth and nose.


5. Do not remove a mask unless you are physically distancing

Nurse Prevatt-Gomez warned that when in public, masks must be kept on except in instances when physical distancing is being practiced (minimum of six feet between people).

When removing the mask, do NOT touch the front of the mask, remove using the side loops and fold the mask so the inside is protected, and store lengthways in the hygienic bag.

She said hands must also be sanitised after putting away the mask to prevent any spread of pathogens.


Nurse Prevatt-Gomez added that wearing a mask alone will not protect against COVID-19, and urged the public to continue to distance themselves, only going out when necessary.

Citizens should sanitise all frequently used spaces at work and home and practice all safety and hygiene measures at all times to prevent the spread of the virus.

For more COVID-19 safety tips on face masks see here:

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