By Akhil Reddy On January 30th, 2020

In the backdrop of recent novel Coronavirus outbreak, a message is being widely shared on social media with a claim that there are two ways of wearing a surgical/medical mask. The two ways are: “1. Colored side out if you’re sick and do not want to spread your germs around. 2. White side out (this is the filter part) for when you’re not sick and you want to stop germs from getting in”. Let’s try to analyze the claim made in the post.

The archived version of the post can be found here.

Claim: Two ways of wearing a surgical mask: Colored side out if you are sick and White side out if you do not want to become sick.

Fact: There is only one way of wearing a three-layered surgical mask. The colored side of the surgical mask should face outwards. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.

When searched regarding the ways of wearing a surgical mask, no information was found regarding the ways mentioned in the post. In an article published by ‘The Strait Times’, in September-2019, it can be read that ‘there is only one way to wear the good quality surgical masks that most people are familiar with – with the colored side facing outwards’. Also, in the document released by the ‘Centre for Health Protection’, it can be read that, ‘in general, the colored side/the side with folds facing downwards of the surgical mask should face outwards with the metallic strip uppermost’.

Also, a similar suggestion can be seen in the ‘wiki How’ article on ‘How to Put on a Medical Mask’.

Some videos by the experts on how to wear the surgical mask can be watched here and here. The Health Promotion Board of Singapore also released posters on its Facebook page explaining how to wear a mask.

To sum it up, there is only one way to wear a three-layered surgical mask: Colored-side outwards.

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Originally published at Factly