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How to Use Your Face Mask Properly

The CDC has recently updated their recommendations regarding face mask. Recommending the general public should wear cloth face coverings when in public areas all the while maintaining proper social distance. Health authorities believe that the use of cloth face coverings can help slow the spread of the Coronavirus, by reducing the release of respiratory droplets release into the air carrying the virus.

 

What type of face covering should you use?

Medical professionals and health authorities stress that medical grade masks, such as the N95 and surgical masks, should be reserved for frontline medical staff. These masks are meant for healthcare workers who are putting their lives at risk every day by working with the sick.

 

The CDC states that simple face masks can be made at a low cost by fashioning household items and materials like t-shirt, bandannas, elastic, and rubber bands. You don’t even need a sewing machine.

 

How to properly were a mask

Both the WHO and CDC have clear guidelines to follow on how to properly put on, wear, and remove a mask. If any step is done improperly you still risk exposure to the virus. We’ve summarized their instructions below.

 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or an alcohol based hand sanitizer before putting your mask on. This reduces the risk of transferring the virus directly from your hands to your face.
  • Make sure to place the mask/face covering over your mouth and nose. The covering should sit securely to your face with no gaps.
  • Secure the mask to your face using ties or ear loops.
  • Make sure you are not restricting your breathing. Do Not place a face covering on children under the age of two, a person who has breathing issues, or any person in capable of removing the mask by themselves. Improper use may risk suffocation.
  • Avoid touching your mask while wearing it. Wash your hands if you do.
  • To remove the face covering: Do Not touch the front of the mask as it may have been exposed to the virus, and you risk transferring it to your hands. Remove from behind, using the ties or ear loops.
  • Wash hands immediately after handling a used face covering or mask.
  • Launder or replace face coverings after every use.

 

Looking for ways to make your own face covering?

There are plenty of guides and videos online on how to make your own mask. One of our favorites is the CDC’s guide, with several methods using various household supplies, and offering both sewing and non-sewed options.

 

 

Resources:

CDC: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Cloth Face Covers

CDC: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Protect Yourself

World Health Organization: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: When and how to use masks

CDC: How to Properly Put on and Take off a Disposable Respirator

 

 

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