Appendix 21. Face or surgical masks

21.1 Introduction

Face masks or surgical masks should be worn by contagious patients (suspect or confirmed) when they leave their rooms to go to another department or any other enclosed area. Wearing a surgical mask is not necessary when the patient is alone in his/her room or outdoors.

The purpose of the surgical mask is to catch much of the nuclear droplets that are expelled by the patient during talking, breathing or coughing. This results in less bacteria being introduced into areas.

21.2 Instructions for use

Masks are for personal use. The same mask cannot be shared.
– Open the mask.
– Bend the nasal bar (if included).
– Separate the straps; lightly stretch tem.
– Put the chin into the mask.
– Stretch the two straps over the head.
– Put the first strap at neck-height and the second strap on top of the head.

Masks must be replaced if they become wet or damaged, and at least everyday.

It is not recommended to have patients wear masks for large portions of the day or while sleeping as they do restrict air movement and not very comfortable.

21.3 Storage

Store in a dry, well ventilated place.

21.4 Disposal

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