You’ve probably seen and heard a lot lately about face masks and how and when to wear them. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes that the virus can spread between people in close proximity—for example, through speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even by individuals not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
The CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and prevent people who may have the virus but do not know it from transmitting it to others.
- Do wear a face mask if you have symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, shortness of breath, a new cough, and muscle aches.
- Do wear a face mask if you are in a high-concentration area of COVID-19 cases.
- Do wear a face mask to remind yourself not to touch your face and to help prevent the spread of germs from droplets.
- Do wash your hands. Cleaning your hands is still your best protection against COVID-19.
- Don’t hoard clinical masks. Health care workers need clinical masks to help take care of patients.
- Don’t stop social distancing. A face mask will not completely protect you from the coronavirus. However, a homemade face mask cover can provide light protection and remind you not to touch your face. It also helps prevent the spread of germs from you to others.
How to use a cloth mask:
- Ensure you are using a clean mask.
- Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer before touching the mask.
- Pick up the mask by touching ear loops (or ties) only; avoid touching the mask itself.
- Hold both ear loops and place a loop around each ear.
- Fit mask around mouth, nose, and chin.
- Grab ear loops only and lift the mask off ears.
- Pull the bottom of the mask off and away from mouth and chin.
- If you plan to reuse your mask right away, place it in a clean paper bag so it will not contaminate other surfaces. Otherwise, place it directly into your washing machine and follow the instructions below.
- If it is a single-use mask, discard it directly into the garbage.
- Clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
For re-usable cloth masks:
- Launder the mask after use in your washing machine in hot water, using soap or detergent that leaves no residue.
- Dry on hot in your dryer.
Other tips for all masks:
- Mask should be either completely on or off; do not wear or rest under the chin.
- Never wear the mask inside-out.
- Remove the mask if soiled or damp; do not reuse a single-use mask.
- Do not touch the mask, face, or adjust the mask while it is on.
- If you touch the mask, wash hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer right away.