Coronavirus

Disposable masks: which side to the front, which to the back?

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Does the white or blue side of a disposable mask belong to the outside? And how do you actually store a reusable mask? The use of masks to protect against Covid-19 is not that intuitive. Dr. Med. Laura Weisenburger answered some of the most important questions for the “Apotheken Umschau”.

White side and blue side

Most disposable respirators that you buy have a white and a blue or green side. The white side is the inside and must be worn around the mouth. The wire clip, which is often incorporated, belongs on the bridge of the nose so that the mask can close as tightly as possible.

Put on the mask

The white inside of the mask should not be touched at all – or at least only with washed hands. Since this part of the mask is worn directly on the mouth and nose, you can also become infected there by smear infection. The board spokesman of the German Society for Hospital Hygiene emphasizes: “The inside must be protected.”

Seat of the mask

The mask should fit as tightly as possible and not slip when turning the head, but at the same time not interfere with breathing or speaking. The nose and mouth must be completely covered. For most people, the mask should close on the nose where they would otherwise wear glasses. The nose clip of the mask should be adapted to the shape of the nose.

For people who wear glasses

The mouth and nose protection is worn under the glasses, which means that the temples sit on the fabric. If the wire at the top of the mask is fitted to the nose, the glasses shouldn’t fog up when you exhale. If the glasses fog up anyway, special masks for people who wear glasses may come into question, which definitely won’t fog up.

Push the mask aside

The experts emphasize again and again: A mask that does not cover the nose, but only the mouth is practically useless. The mask must cover both at all times. Also, the mask should never be pulled under the chin or dangling freely from one ear as soon as it is no longer needed. Both of these increase the chance that the inside, which is later worn directly on the mouth, becomes infected.

The storage of the mask

Masks that are no longer required should be packed away immediately. If the mask is to be reused later, it should ideally be kept in a plastic bag. Folded in a jacket pocket or handbag, the outside should always point outwards – and here too the inside should not be touched.

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