There have been claims that each side of protective surgical masks has different functions, indicated by colour, and you should choose the way you wear them by whether you are ill or not. This however, is incorrect. Generally, if the masks have a coloured side, you should wear your mask with this facing outside, but always read the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure.
One of the Columnist of Medical Mythbusters Malaysia, an NGO that works to counter myths and inaccurate facts on medical matters, 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.
In demonstrating the correct way to wear a face mask? Seto Wong Hong of Hong University held up a mask and said “you see it has the blue on the outside because it’s waterproof and then you have the white on the inside, which is absorbent. So if I cough, it absorbs it, so you gotta wear it like this- the blue on the outside, the white on the inside.”
When using a mask, it must fully cover both the mouth and nose and is for single use only. Although, there are variety of masks now being made from breathable fabrics like the Nigerian Ankara, it’s however advisable that these masks be kept clean at all times.
So the next time you are picking up a surgical mask of this variation, make sure you put these facts into consideration. Remember, this is our new normal, so stay safe, stay protected.