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Should you sneeze with your mask on or off?

Sep 15, 2020 | Blog

Since Covid reared its ugly head we’ve all faced dilemmas like whether we should sneeze with our mask on or off. Well having supplied dentists for nearly 10 years we’ve been through most of these and can remove the guesswork for you. We asked for your questions and they covered everything from itchy noses to soggy beards, here are the five most common queries and their answers.

Q: How can I stop my beard getting soggy under my mask?

A: Well, this is gross and you might not like the answer but here we go! Moisture from your breath and sweat from your skin will build up inside your mask and with nowhere to go it’s going to make your beard damp. There’s not much you can do about this other than periodically taking the mask off then washing and airing your chops. You may want to consider getting rid of the beard completely or at least keeping it very short. Many healthcare professionals (including some high-profile Sikh doctors) have actually gone clean shaven to achieve a better seal on their mask, offering better protection and removing the wet beard issue.

Q: What should I do with my mask on my coffee break?

A: You may see people hanging the mask from their ear, pulling it down to their chin or pushing it up onto their heads, don’t do this! All the good work you’ve done by keeping the mask on could be undone if contaminants from unprotected parts of your head get on the inside of your mask and you put it back on. Wash your hands, take the mask off from the ear loops and put it on a clean surface with the outside face down and the loops away from the inside surface. Then when you’re ready just pick it up from the loops and put it back into place, easy.

Q: What’s the safest way to scratch my nose?

A: We’ve all been tempted to rub the outside of the mask to relieve an itchy nose but you don’t need us to tell you that’s a bad idea. If it can’t be ignored, then wash your hands, remove the mask as above and sort that itch out. Just make sure to wash your hands again and only handle the mask via the ear loops when you put it back on.

Q: Should I sneeze inside the mask?

A: It’s grim and no one wants to do it but… Keeping an FFP2 mask on during a sneeze or coughing fit is among the safest things you can do to protect others. Just be sure to give your face a good wash and change the mask afterwards. If you’re able to hold the sneeze in long enough to safely remove the mask and sneeze well away from others then go ahead and do that instead, just be sure to catch it in a tissue, bin it and clean yourself up before popping the mask back on.

Q: How do I stop my glasses fogging up?

A: Our medical-grade FFP2 (N95) masks have a foam strip across the bridge of the nose to prevent the fogging eyewear. If your mask doesn’t have this a common hack is to smear a bit of lip balm or Vaseline over the top edge of your mask and wear it tight to help it seal better against the skin.

These practical tips will keep you and your customers safe but the most important thing is to get the right PPE and wear it correctly. If you’re around clients all day you should be wearing an FFP2/N95 mask to protect yourself. You can order medical-grade masks along with visors and sanitiser through our online shop.

If there’s a question you’d like us to cover in a future blog post just drop us an email at or post on our Facebook

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