How to safely wear a face mask

From Thursday, April 16 – in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic – covering the mouth and nose in public space is obligatory in Poland. One can use a face mask or piece of clothing. We advise on how to put it on, remove it, and clean it.

Nowa maseczka (z napisem COVID-19) leży na stole

To begin with, let us remind you that medical and surgical masks should be reserved for medical personnel and those caring for patients with COVID-19. These recommendations have been formulated independently by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

To reduce the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from both symptomatic and asymptomatic people, CDC and ECDC recommend wearing non-specialist masks or cloth face coverings in public settings, where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. This is particularly the case in grocery stores, pharmacies, and public transport.

WHO neither recommends nor warns against using this type of face mask. However, its experts point out that their effectiveness may depend on the number of layers of fabric, breathability of material, water repellence, shape and fit of mask. The use of a face mask may help prevent the transmission of saliva and respiratory secretions when coughing, sneezing and speaking.

Mask management:

  • Before putting on a mask wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while using it.
  • When removing, do not touch the front of the mask, but untie it from behind.
  • After removal wash hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it becomes damp.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks. Discard single-use masks after each use and dispose of them immediately upon removal.
  • Nonmedical (cloth) masks should be washed and ironed after each use.

WHO emphasizes that wearing a face mask does not provide complete protection against infection, so all other protective measures (such as hand hygiene and social distancing) must be followed. Frequent handwashing with soap and avoiding public places are key components of basic infection control.

More information about SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and COVID-19 are available on our website and on a special tab. There you can also find news about PAS involvement in the fight against pandemic.

Source of information: WHO, CDC, ECDC