Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a ton of misinformation about face masks doing the rounds.
There have been debates about whether they work (which we confirm they most certainly do), whether it’s your right to decide not to wear them (we’re looking at you America and the Karens of the world) and then there are all the rumours and bad advice on how they should be worn.
In a recent slew of misinformation about mask etiquette, people on social media are confusing which way a blue medical mask should be worn. White side in or blue side in?
Just in case you have fallen victim to any false claims, we’re here with the final verdict from medical professionals who know what they’re talking about.
The misinformation came from a Facebook user who posted an image of a sign depicting a common blue disposable medical mask. The post instructed people to wear them “Whiteside out: Filter – When (you’re) not sick and want to keep the virus out” and “Blue side out: to keep germs in when (you’re) sick”.
The post was shared upwards of 10 000 times, reports USA Today, but has since been flagged as “false information”.
Reuters reported on a similar post, which does not credit any health organization or name the medical staff and institution that gave the ‘advice’:
“While at the doctors office today, we were informed by a Nurse the proper way to use a medical mask… When using a medical mask you’re supposed to use as follows: Colored side out if you’re sick and do not want to spread your germs around. White side out (this is the filter part) for when you’re not sick and you want to stop germs from getting in… The Nurse said the entire doctors office never knew either, until the supplier sent them “proper directions” for them this past week! Hope this helps!”
Several fact-checkers have debunked the claim, clarifying that disposable medical masks should always be worn with the white, absorbent layer facing inward.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released a video of Dr April Baller, who works with Infection Prevention & Control in the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, explaining how to wear a medical mask correctly:
WHO also has an infographic available on its website explaining how to wear a medical mask safely. It says to “ensure the coloured-side faces outwards”.
Seto Wing Hong, a co-director of the Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control, also explains in a Bloomberg QuickTake News video how to correctly wear a medical mask:
“You see it has a blue color on the outside because it’s waterproof. And then you have white on the inside which is absorbent. So, if I cough, it absorbs it. So, you got to wear it like this, the blue on the outside, the white on the inside.” He explains.
Furthermore, the blue and white sides should not be worn to represent one’s health status.
The final verdict: it’s a false claim.
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