FACT CHECK: Viral Image Gives Inaccurate Instructions For Wearing Surgical Masks

Matt Noel | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims people should wear surgical masks with the colored side out when they’re sick and the white side out when they’re healthy.

Verdict: False

Health agencies and mask producers instruct people that the colored side of face masks should always be worn on the outside regardless of if they’re sick or healthy.

Fact Check:

The claim started circulating widely in the U.S. around the time that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Americans wear face coverings in public to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

This particular post, which says people should wear surgical masks with the colored side out when they’re sick and the white side out when they’re healthy, has been shared over 400 times. Surgical masks like the ones pictured in the Facebook post typically have a blue side and a white side.

Dr. Seto Wing Hong, co-director of the World Health Organization’s Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control, explained the correct way to wear a mask in January. (RELATED: Does The CDC Recommend Wearing Only Certain Beard Styles To Help Prevent The Spread Of Coronavirus?)

“You see it has a blue color on the outside because it is waterproof and then you have the white on the inside, which is absorbent. So, if I cough, it absorbs it,” he said. “So you gotta wear it like this, the blue on the outside, the white on the inside.”

Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection advises people to wear the “coloured side/the side with the folds facing downwards” on the outside. So does the “Frequently Asked Questions” section of medical mask maker PriMED’s website.

Experts have stressed that people should follow the instructions from the mask supplier, according to The Associated Press.

Matt Noel

Fact Check Reporter
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