Proper Way to Breathe Using a Face Mask

Mar 9th 2015

Face masks are an essential element for various environments, including; hospitals, research laboratories, clean rooms, and more. to use one incorrectly could be detrimental to the clean room as well as to the products and supplies. The Interim Guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO) states “Using a mask incorrectly, however, may actually increase the risk of transmission, rather than reduce it”. It seems as if this would be an intuitive matter, but I have seen face masks used improperly too many times! So lets talk about how to breathe!

1. It is important to wash your hands before wearing a mask. If in a clean room environment, it is best to use antibacterial soap in order to reduce the risk of contamination. If you can not use or find hand soap, alcohol disinfectant will suffice. Once the face  mask is in place, if you feel that it becomes contaminated, you should leave the room and take off the mask. Be sure to wash your hands after removing the mask and before putting on a new one as well.

2. To properly fit a mask to your face , it should first be covering both your mouth and your nose. This is definitely more uncomfortable than just covering ones mouth with the face mask because you are breathing back in some of the exhaled air. However, some sacrifices must be made in the name of safety! Woman Breathing Wearing Face Mask

3. Once the face mask has been placed over both your mouth AND your nose, check the sides to make sure that no air is escaping and that there are no leakages. Depending on the type of mask, you may be able to fit the mask by pressing your fingers around the edges to conform the face mask to your face. Woman Breathing Through Facemask  (Profile View)

4. Once the mask is secure, now you can breathe! You MUST breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. This is essential for you as well as your the environment. By breathing in through your nose, the cilia (hairs inside of your nose) will catch particles coming into your body verses breathing in through your mouth, the particles will go directly into your body / lungs (it also helps to warm the air that you are breathing). By breathing out of your mouth into the face mask simply lets air escape faster and releases pressure.

5. Now, you may breathe freely!