The use of medical masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19

The use of medical masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19

WHO recommends the use of  medical masks in health-care settings, noting that they should be used in combination with other key infection prevention and control measures (such as hand hygiene and adequate physical distancing).

National decision makers may also recommend medical mask use for certain individuals using a risk-based approach. It is evident however, that prioritization of medical masks is for health care providers, symptomatic people and their caregivers. For WHO recommendations  click here.

Healthcare workers

Healthcare workers are arguably the most exposed to COVID-19 due to their close contact with suspected or confirmed cases, the medical procedures they may need to carry out (particularly invasive actions), and their surrounding environment. Medical masks and respirators such as N95, FFP2 or equivalent are recommended and should be reserved for all healthcare workers while giving care to patients.

People who are sick and exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19

WHO recommends that anyone who is ill, even with mild symptoms such as muscle aches, slight cough, sore throat or fatigue, should isolate at home and use a medical mask if contact is expected with anyone else. Wearing a mask will help to protect those nearby from infection.

Anyone taking care of a person at home who is sick with COVID-19

Those caring for individuals with COVID-19 should wear a medical mask for protection as they are at high risk.