You're Probably Wearing Your Face Mask Upside Down, Doctors Warn

This common mistake can make your mask completely ineffective in slowing the spread of coronavirus.

By now, you've likely been wearing a face mask for months, but have you been wearing it correctly is the question. Since you had probably never worn a mask before the coronavirus pandemic began, it's easy to get confused about the right way to put it on, take it off, and sanitize it. Yes, there are many mask mistakes you could make, but doctors have been seeing a lot of people who are still wearing their surgical face masks upside down.

Of course, the correct orientation of the mask depends on the type of face covering you are using. While bandanas or scarves from home do not have a top or bottom, surgical masks do. You can generally identify the top of a mask by locating the metal piece within the mask. Most masks have a "top that includes pliable metal that can bend around the bridge of your nose to create a tighter fit," Bruce Y. Lee, MD, wrote for Forbes. "If your mask is upside down, this nose bridge wire or strip will be instead on your neck, which will make it useless."

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According to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, it's pivotal to "determine which side of the mask is the top. The side of the mask that has a stiff bendable edge is the top and is meant to mold to the shape of your nose." If you don't mold the metal strip, then you're allowing potentially contaminated respiratory particles to be released through the edges of your mask, which renders it totally useless.

Wearing your mask upside down not only makes it generally ineffective, it also allows the mask to easily slip down your face while you're talking or walking, which could expose your nose or cause you to touch the mask and possibly contaminate it.

Follow the below instructions from former ICU nurse Erin Wert to ensure that your mask is fashioned in a way that will keep you and others safe.

And for more mask mistakes to avoid, check out This Is the Face Mask the CDC Doesn't Want You to Wear.

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