PETALING JAYA: There is only one way to wear a surgical mask correctly, and that is with the coloured side facing outside.
And it doesn’t matter if you are wearing the mask because you are sick and don’t want to spread your germs; or are wearing it to prevent yourself from being infected.
As the world faces the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, many have been forwarding messages on how to prevent contracting this possibly fatal virus.
One of those messages is about the correct way to way a mask, purportedly with the coloured side facing outside if you’re sick and the white side outside if you want to “stop the germs from getting in”.
This is however false, according to Medical Mythbusters Malaysia, an NGO that works to counter myths and inaccurate facts on medical matters.
One of its columnists, Bel Nawhen said that surgical masks are usually worn by healthcare professionals to prevent infections transmitted by respiratory droplets.
The outer layer is hydrophobic or is a fluid-repelling layer while the inner layer is to absorb moisture, as the air we breathe out contains moisture.
There is also typically a middle layer that filters bacteria.
“The function of the blue/green layer is to prevent germs from sticking to it. If you wear the mask the other way, the moisture from the air will stick onto it, making it easier for germs to stay there.
“When you breathe in, the germs will transfer from the outside later and straight into your lungs, ” Bel wrote in a Facebook post in January 2019 that has gone viral again recently.
Bel said that the mask must fully cover both the mouth and nose and is for single use only.