Appendix 28. Surgical masks

Select language:
On this page

    Update: January 2022


    28.1 Introduction

    The purpose of surgical masks is to catch droplet nuclei that patients expel while talking, breathing or coughing.

    Surgical masks should be worn by contagious or potentially contagious patients (confirmed or presumed cases) when they leave their rooms to go to another department or any other enclosed area, or when they take care of young children. 


    The terms "surgical", "medical" or "procedure" are sometimes used interchangeably to qualify masks. Only masks that conform to the norms EN 14683 or ASTM F2100 should be used.

    28.2  Instructions for use

    Surgical masks are for personal use. The same mask cannot be shared.

    • Open the mask.
    • Bend the nasal bar (if included).
    • Put the chin into the mask.
    • Attach the straps behind the head or over the ears.


    Surgical masks must be replaced at least once a day and when they become wet or damaged.


    It is not recommended to wear masks for large portions of the day or while sleeping, as they are not comfortable.

    28.3  Storage

    Store in a dry, well ventilated place.

    28.4  Disposal

    Masks are disposed of as "soft waste" and do not need to be disinfected before being discarded.