How to Properly Wear a Facemask for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Protection
When you have symptoms of cold, flu, COVID-19
(coronavirus) or other viruses and infections, properly
wearing a surgical facemask can help protect others from
getting sick. It is important that you follow infection prevention
precautions when putting the mask on and taking the mask
off. If you are one of those people who need to wear a
facemask, follow these instructions for how to put on and take
off a surgical mask.
There are several types of facemasks. The most common
• Medical (or surgical) masks – for general public use
• N95 particle respirator masks – for health care
How to Put the Mask On
1. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Dry your hands with a clean paper towel
and throw the paper towel away.
2. Check the mask for any defects such as a tear or missing tie or ear loop. Throw away any that are
3. Make sure the exterior (usually yellow or blue) side of the mask is facing out, away from your face.
4. Place the mask on your face with the blue side facing out and the stiff, bendable edge at the top by your
5. If the mask has ear loops, put one loop around each ear.
6. If the mask has ties, pick up the mask by the ties and tie the upper ties behind your head with a bow.
7. Once the mask is in place, use your index finger and thumb to pinch the bendable top edge of the mask
around the bridge of your nose.
8. If the mask has a lower tie, then once the mask is fitted to the bridge of your nose, tie the lower ties
behind your head with a bow.
9. Make sure the mask is completely secure. Make sure it covers your nose and mouth so that the bottom
edge is under your chin.
10. Wash your hands.
Removing the Mask
1. Wash your hands before removing the mask.
2. Do not touch the inside of the mask (the part over nose and mouth). It may be contaminated from your
breathing, coughing or sneezing.
3. Untie or remove the ear loops and remove the mask by the straps.
4. Throw the mask in the trash.
5. Wash your hands.
Please Note: If you are using a reusable cloth mask, at the end of the day, take the mask off from the straps
(not touching the front), place in a pillowcase to keep the ties with the mask. Wash it in the washing machine
with hot water and completely dry on medium or high heat.
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NOTE: This information is provided to you as an educational service of National Jewish Health. It is not meant to
be a substitute for consulting with your own physician.
National Jewish Health is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Founded 121 years ago as a
nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health today is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to
groundbreaking medical research and treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related
disorders. Patients and families come to National Jewish Health from around the world to receive cutting-edge,
comprehensive, coordinated care. To learn more, visit njhealth.org.