Coronavirus and face masks

The proper use of face masks can reduce infections.

If possible, wear a face mask in all public spaces where you cannot avoid being near other people.

Please use the correct technique when putting on and taking off your mask.

Wearing a face mask does not make up for primary virus infection prevention measures, such as avoiding close contact, keeping a safe distance, washing hands according to guidelines, and following the correct cough and sneeze etiquette.

Instructions on the safe use of face masks have been given by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, and the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes).

Face masks and respiratory diseases

People with existing respiratory diseases can mostly wear face masks safely. However, certain factors can make it more difficult to use them. If the respiratory disease is severe and involves respiratory insufficiency, it is not recommended to wear a mask.

At first, wearing a mask can feel difficult. It is important that you find a mask that suits you and that you practise wearing it and breathing with it at home or sitting down.

Many people may experience sweating or dizziness when they start wearing a mask. These symptoms usually go away once you get used to the mask.

If you are unable to wear a mask or have difficulty breathing with it, in spite of trying and starting slowly, you could try a mask that has a valve in it. Please note that face masks with valves do not protect the people around you if you have contracted the coronavirus.  

If, in spite your efforts, it is still hard to breathe while wearing a mask, you should not wear one.

Wearing a face mask in cold weather

In subzero temperatures, face masks get damp rapidly, which reduces their filtering capacity. In extreme subzero temperatures, masks also tend to freeze easily. This can make it feel heavy to breathe through the mask. You should always replace your mask if it is wet or frozen.