Safety Check: Throwing out used face masks

Digital Now

COLORADO SPRINGS — FOX21 has received a number of emails asking how to properly throw away used disposable face masks. 

Turns outs, there’s no reason to handle them any differently than you would a used tissue. 

“Each individual needs to make sure that they’re protecting themselves, but you as the sick person has the responsibility here alright, to make sure we’re limiting the exposure of the folks who have to help us and deal with those kinds of things,” said Dr. Leon Kelly, Deputy Medical Director for El Paso County Public Health.

According to Dr. Kelly, it’s best to throw used masks into a trash bag, tie it up, and put it in the trash bin to be picked up by your trash service. 

“Don’t let it blow away in the wind and make neighbors or somebody else have to pick it up, or the sanitation workers have to pick it up. Just common sense, be thoughtful,” Dr. Kelly said. 

Dr. Kelly says if you are sick, throw out any tissues, face masks, floss, or anything that may have a virus or your saliva on it, yourself. 

Don’t lay it around in the office or on your kitchen table, as it can put others at risk. 

If you are taking care of someone who is sick, take extra precautions when you do throw out their used tissues or face masks, and always practice proper handwashing. 

“The golden rule as we move into summer here is you know, less people together, that’s a good thing. People outside, that’s a good thing. You know, hand washing and wearing the mask, very, very simple stuff to get us through summer and we’ll be able to celebrate do all the things we normally love about summer time. Just do it a little bit different, a little bit of a tweak and we’ll be okay,” Dr. Kelly said. 

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