Five common mistakes made when wearing a face mask

For some of us, wearing a face mask is second nature. Maybe your job role requires it, so it’s nothing new.

But for others, wearing a mask can feel awkward and maybe a little uncomfortable.

To help everyone adjust to this new normal, we’ve broken down five common mistakes made when wearing a mask (and how to correctly wear a mask instead).

1. Wearing the mask incorrectly

Just like clothes, masks come in a variety of sizes and type. Everyone is a little bit different, so a mask should fit snugly across the face. It should completely cover the nose and mouth and extend below the chin.

2. Putting the mask on/removing the mask incorrectly

When removing the mask, take it off by unlooping or untying it from the ears, taking care to avoid touching the front.

3. Touching the mask too much

Once the mask is on, try to touch it as little as possible. This helps avoid contaminating the front of the mask or hands.  While in the community (such as at a grocery store), adding a face shield can help resist the urge to touch the face.

4. Pulling down the mask to talk

If someone pulls down their mask or unhooks it from their ears when talking to others, they’re defeating the purpose of wearing a mask. It can take some time to adjust, but it’s important to keep the mask on the face in the correct position. Again, adding a face shield can help resist this temptation.

5. Not practicing hand hygiene

Remember the importance of hand hygiene (wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol) before putting on a mask and after you remove it.

How to wear a face mask correctly

Protect yourself and others by wearing a face covering correctly.

Person wearing a mask that covers the bridge of their nose to just below their chin

Do not wear your mask like this

Person wearing a mask without covering their nose
The mask should cover your nose.
Person wearing a mask without covering their chin
The bottom of the mask should cover your chin.
Person wearing a mask that covers only their chin
The mask should not expose your mouth or nose.
Last reviewed: 
July 2020

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