Certain precautions should be taken when fitting a surgical mask or respirator. These are the main ones:
- Remove the mask from the packaging and apply it to the face by holding it only by the ties.
- Make sure you put it on right side out with the strip up at the nose. In general, the information printed on the mask by the manufacturer should be displayed on the outside. If there is no specific indication, the most padded side should be applied to the face.
- Position the upper ties on the top of the head and the lower ties at neck level. The mask must be properly unfolded.
- The mask should cover the nose, mouth and chin. In the case of respirators, it is possible to check that the mask fits properly by closing the filter surface with your hands and inhaling slowly. If the mask tends to crush against the face it is well placed, otherwise it is incorrectly placed and leaks.
- Once the mask is in place, it should not be touched or repositioned (except during removal).
- If the mask is single-use, once the mask has been removed it should be disposed of immediately in the appropriate manner.
- The mask should be changed regularly: at least every three hours for a surgical mask (or before if it has been soiled by splashes) and between three and eight hours for a respirator.
- You should wash your hands before and after each mask change.
Which surgical masks or respirators protect against contagious diseases and viruses?
Coronavirus, SARS, H1N1:
- For the contagious patient: it is necessary to wear the surgical mask as soon as contagion is suspected.
- For caregivers: it is necessary to wear a protective mask of at least class FFP2 or FFP3 (Class N, R or P in the United States) for maximum filtration of particles and aerosols when caring for a patient who is infected or suspected of being so.