Medline Canada Shares Tips on Effective Mask Wearing as Flu Season Approaches

Face masks for flu season

Release Date

Friday, September 16, 2022


If you're riding transit in any Canadian city, the public announcement system will tell you the next stop, it will ask you to stand clear of the closing doors — it might also tell you that wearing a mask is still strongly recommended. 

While mask mandates throughout the country continue to withdraw, many people still choose to wear them as a personal choice. 

With fall — and flu season and a potential new wave of COVID-19 — around the corner, many people might consider wearing PPE to feel more comfortable in various settings. Here are five reminders and tips to remember when masking up: 

The basics
We've all worn masks over the last two years, but here are some cardinal rules to keep in mind:

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before handling your mask
  • Choose a mask that is clean, dry and has no damage
  • Make sure your mask fits well over your nose, mouth and chin

Be aware of the mask you choose
Several options are now readily available: respirators, medical masks, cloth masks, face shields, bandanas, etc. Health Canada clarifies that while non-medical masks offer protection, the best choices are medical masks and respirators like N95s.

Don't be afraid to change your mask
If your mask is dirty or damp, it's time to swap it out with a clean one. Carry a small bag to store your dirty masks.

Reuse masks when possible
Many disposable masks use lots of plastic. When thrown in the garbage, this increases the amount of landfill. Locally, there might be a mask recycling program available. Of course, you don't always have to throw your masks in the trash. Cloth masks can be washed by hand or in the washing machine with warm, soapy water and then left to dry. 

As for medical masks and respirators, The New York Times noted that experts say storing masks separately with enough time (five to seven days) for the virus to be inactive is safe. A writer in the Times suggests the following: "I have five masks on rotation and seven brown paper bags marked with the days of the week, lined up on my windowsill. I place my mask in the appropriately labelled bag between uses during the day and at the end of it." 1

Fold and store face masks appropriately.
Face masks should be carefully folded, so the outer surface is held inward and against itself to reduce contact with the outer surface during storage. The folded mask can be stored between uses in a clean, sealable paper bag or breathable container.

Medline is committed to providing all the tools and tips possible to have all the necessary information on preserving your PPE should you be waiting on your supplies. For more insights and practical advice on conservation strategies, skin health or how to extend the life of your linens, see Medline's readiness resources on the COVID-19 Resource Center.


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