Guide to masks and respirators

  • Connexions
  • 2022-04-21
  • 2122

Simple rules for effective masks usage


Ensure that you use and wear an appropriate mask or respirator properly and consistently, according to its purpose as described on the instructions.

Practise proper removal of used and contaminated masks or respirators to prevent the spread of viruses to your hands, face and other contact surfaces. Touch only the straps and not the surface of the mask or respirator when removing it. You should wash your hands after disposal of a used mask or respirator.

Reduce the amount of talking when wearing a mask or respirator. These actions will lower the amount of condensation produced within the mask or respirator, and extend its effective life. To be effective, change masks or respirators if soiled or wet.


Do not reuse masks or respirators as they are contaminated once used.

Purchasing masks and respirators

When purchasing masks, avoid dubious or unknown websites or sellers, as the quality of their surgical masks and respirators is not assured.

Specifications of quality surgical masks and KN95 respirators

Surgical Mask

In contrast to a thin, single-layered or double-layered paper mask, a surgical mask usually consists of three layers of flat or pleated fabric.

Ideally, a surgical mask:

Has the manufacturer’s name printed on its packaging.

Has a bacterial filtration efficiency of 95% or higher.

Carries an expiry date on its packaging.

Does not contain materials that you are allergic to.

Provides a good fit.

KN95 respirator

When purchasing a respirator, check that it is labelled with the CE/FDA certificate number and is not expired.

If it is CE / FDA-certified, it should:

Have a particulate filtration efficiency of 95%.

Provide a good fit to your face.

Carry instructions on how to wear and discard the respirator.

The respirator should not contain materials that can cause allergic reactions.

Use of Masks and Respirators for Children

Respirators are not designed to fit children. The faces of children may be too small for the respirators to fit properly and may not provide adequate protection. It may be better for children to wear a surgical mask if protection is needed.

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