Is There A Right Way To Wear A Surgical Mask? A FactCheck

Viral Facebook post falsely suggests wearing the non-coloured side of the mask outside when you're not sick and want to prevent germs from getting in.

A viral social media post claiming there is a 'proper way' to wear the three layered surgical mask commonly worn by medical professionals and that wearing the coloured side or the white side of the mask signal different things, is false and misleading.

The viral graphic shows two people wearing masks with the text describing that the mask can be worn in two ways, both with the coloured portion outside as well as the white filter outside.

The message specifies which side to use when and it reads "1. Colored side out if you're sick and do not want to spread your germs around. 2. White side out (this is the filter part) for when you're not sick and you want to stop germs from getting in"

BOOM spoke to a doctor who stated that the message is misleading. People have been wearing masks in India as well as abroad to protect themselves from polluted air and the recent air borne novel Coronavirus.

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BOOM received this image on its WhatsApp helpline to check for its authenticity.

The image is also quite viral on Facebook. You can find the archive of this post here.

Fact Check

BOOM searched for the terms "How to wear a face mask" online and came across a few videos and articles depicting the correct way to wear a face mask.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health has detailed the appropriate methodology in which the mask should be worn. It specifies that ideally, the coloured portion of the mask is with a bendable edge and by is supposed to be worn on the outside. The filter should be near the nose. Maintaining personal hygiene and washing hands with soap and water have been repetitively mentioned on the department's website.

A video by TIME Magazine shows medical experts talking about the right way to wear the mask. They also mention that the coloured part should be worn on the outside irrespective of the illness status of the mask wearer.

Dr. Jonathan Fernandez, an Emergency Physician from Kerala also debunked the claims related to the mask scientifically.

He explained the right methodology in a series of tweets.

Dr.Fernandez mentions in his tweets that these masks are not the safest ones to use and that N95 masks even though expensive work better in keeping any kind of droplets away. He also mentions that the common surgical masks are for the wearer more than the people around them. He also emphasized that there is only one particular way to wear this mask which is coloured side out.

BOOM contacted Dr. Fernandez to understand why he suggested N95 masks instead. He stated that he went ahead and debunked the claim because his own father believed it and forwarded the claim to him on WhatsApp.

"It is all about creating a tight seal around the face to allow only air passing through the mask to reach the wearer. N95 masks does it. Regular masks do not. Regular masks keep droplets away from face but do nothing for the microbes or minute particles... N95 works on the basis that it keeps out 95% of the particles less than 0.2 microns in size," Dr. Fernandez stated while explaining the difference between the masks.

India stops export of masks

India confirmed its third positive case of Coronavirus on February 3, 2020. All the three cases are from Kerala and travelled to India from Wuhan. The 2019-novel Coronavirus has claimed 362 lives and has 17,485 confirmed cases. On January 31, 2020, the Indian government banned the export of all kinds of respiratory masks.

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Updated On: 2020-02-03T19:41:44+05:30
Claim Review :   White sides of the surgical masks are supposed to be worn outside
Claimed By :  Social Media
Fact Check :  Misleading
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