How to Properly Wear a Surgical Face Mask

How to Properly Wear a Surgical Face Mask

Over the past few weeks of the corona virus pandemic the general public has been wearing face coverings of some sort.  Most often the covering is a surgical face mask of some sort.  And often the person is not wearing it right.  Let me impart 35-plus years of personal experience.

The mask must cover your nose AND mouth.  Not just one or the other.  Uncovered, either orifice may be able to spew corona virus particles.  If I can see your nostrils – no good.  If I can see your chin, that is still not good.  If I can see your lower lip, that is definitely not good.  Wear the mask so it covers from the bridge of your nose to beyond the bottom of your chin.  Do not worry if it is not “comfortable.”  God never intended these things to be comfortable.

The common complaint is “My Glasses Fog Up.”  Here are some tips:

  • Choose a mask that has the flexible metal at the nose part. Form this so it fits snugly to your nose.  This will minimize the exhaled air flow toward your glasses and decrease fogging.
  • Use tape to tape the nose part of the mask to your nose, creating a seal. This should block the exhaled air flow towards your glasses.
  • Assuming you are wearing a tie-on mask, tie the lower part looser than the upper part. This allows exhaled air to flow down towards the chin and not up towards the glasses.
  • Choose frames with smaller lenses. These tend to fog less.  Choose frames that do not sit so flush to your face.  This allows some drier air from the environment to flow around the lenses, thereby reducing fogging.
  • Try to not talk so much. A lot of air is exhaled when you talk and this increases fogging.  (Also, a benefit to introverts, who do not want to hear so much talking anyway.)
  • If all else fails, try not to breath. (Not so much a joke.  I have been in surgery, gloved up, gowned up, unable to make any mask/glasses adjustments, and this was the last resort.)

Remember, social distancing and wearing a mask is for everyone’s benefit.  I hope these tips help.  But, if you are one of those folks wearing a bandit-style bandana, you are on your own.