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This is how to wear a face mask correctly

There are no requirements to wear a face mask in Sweden. Still, more and more people are wearing face masks in shops, on trains and buses and in the city. But how do you wear a face mask correctly? Marie Jönsson, surgical nurse and lecturer at Kristianstad University explains.
It is important that the face mask covers the nose, mouth and chin. It should sit tightly around the face. Marie Jönsson demonstrates how it should sit.
It is important that the face mask covers the nose, mouth and chin. It should sit tightly around the face. Marie Jönsson demonstrates how it should sit.
Foto: Lasse Ottosson

Keep your distance, wash your hands often and stay home if you are ill. This is the advice that the Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten) has repeated since the pandemic started. Other countries also have requirements for face masks, but not Sweden.

quote
Most people do not know how face masks should sit. The risk is that they spread more infection than protect. The most important thing is to keep your distance

Still, more and more people are seen with face masks. Some have disposable face masks, others in fabric. Which are the most effective? And, most importantly, how do you use them?

Always hold the ear straps, not the face mask itself, suggests Marie Jönsson.
Always hold the ear straps, not the face mask itself, suggests Marie Jönsson.
Foto: Lasse Ottosson

Marie Jönsson has worked as a surgical nurse for 22 years. For a year now, she has been a lecturer on the nursing program at Kristianstad University. She has great experience of wearing face masks while working in healthcare. But she does not think the public should wear them.

– Most people do not know how face masks should sit. The risk is that they spread more infection than protect. The most important thing is to keep your distance.

Remember that the light blue side should be facing outwards and the white side inwards. The slightly harder side should face upwards so that you can pin the mask to your nose.
Remember that the light blue side should be facing outwards and the white side inwards. The slightly harder side should face upwards so that you can pin the mask to your nose.
Foto: Lasse Ottosson

Facts

How to wear a face mask (disposable)

Marie Jönsson has a few tips:
Wash your hands before putting the face mask on.
Always hold the ear straps, never the mask.
The outside is usually blue or green; the white side should be facing inwards towards your face.
The face mask should cover your nose, mouth and chin.
The slightly harder side should face upwards. It should be pressed over the nose so that the face mask is tight.
Straps that can be tied around the head are easier to adjust than ear straps. Then the face mask sits tightly around the face.
Do not touch the face mask while wearing it.
If the face mask gets wet from rain or snow or if you have coughed, sneezed or talked a lot, you need to change it.
Throw the face mask in the bin. Do not put it in your handbag or use it more than once.
Always wash or disinfect your hands when removing the face mask.

She distinguishes between a surgical mask used by healthcare professionals and disposable face masks. Surgical masks have a valve.

They protect both the person wearing the face mask and those who are nearby.

Disposable face masks which are sold in regular stores are simpler. They have several layers and protect against "visible splashes of liquid" as Marie Jönsson says.

Discard the face mask immediately after using it.
Discard the face mask immediately after using it.
Foto: Lasse Ottosson

Many people also wear fabric face masks, either store-bought or home-made. But research shows that they do not protect against infection, says Marie Jönsson.

– I don’t recommend them at all.

If you have a fabric face mask, it needs to be washed every day with hot water and soap, according to WHO.

Both the Public Health Agency of Sweden and WHO believe that the most important advice is to keep at least one metres distance from others. Wearing a face mask does not mean that we can be closer to each other.

Always wash or disinfect your hands before putting the face mask on and after removing it, to avoid spreading the virus.
Always wash or disinfect your hands before putting the face mask on and after removing it, to avoid spreading the virus.
Foto: Lasse Ottosson