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WHO: When and How to Use Medical Masks

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

The use of medical protective face masks is an essential part of the global measures for limiting the spread of Covid-19. Ensure maximum safety with the guidance provided by the World Health Organization (WHO).



Medical masks are intended for single use only.


Who should wear medical masks


· Health workers

· Caregivers tending to someone with Covid-19 symptoms

· Persons aged 60 and over

· Anyone with pre-existing medical conditions

· People who have symptoms suggestive of Covid-19


Before you put on the mask


Before touching the mask, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand-rub or soap and water. When using alcohol-based hand-rub, clean your hands for 20 to 30 seconds. If you use soap and water, wash your hands for at least 40 to 60 seconds. Do not put on a mask that has already been used or is damaged.


How to put it on


First, identify the top and the inside of the mask. Put the mask on your face, covering your nose, mouth and chin. If the mask has a metal strip, pinch the strip to adjust it to the shape of your nose. Don’t touch the front of the mask while wearing it.


How to take it off


Before taking off your mask, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand-rub or with soap and water. Take off your mask by removing the straps from behind your ears or from around your head. Don’t touch the front of the mask. When you are ready to take off the mask, lean forward and remove it away from your face. Discard the mask immediately, preferably into a closed bin. After removing it, clean your hands again.



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