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Face Mask Basics: What You Should Know

April 13, 2020

In light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that we all wear a face mask in public and continue to maintain a safe distance of at least six feet from each other. People should cover their nose and mouth with a cloth mask when going to places like the grocery store or pharmacy. This is to help prevent the disease from passing from person to person, especially because some people show no symptoms.

Because of the critically short supply of N95 respirators and surgical masks worn by health care workers and medical first responders, the CDC is asking the public to use other types of face coverings, preferably cloth.

How to make a mask
You can make your own, even if you don’t know how to sew. The CDC website has both sewing and no-sew instructions for making a face covering using common materials like t-shirts, bandanas and coffee filters.

Some important things to keep in mind:

  • Cloth masks should not be worn by children under the age of two or anyone who may have trouble breathing, are unconscious, or can’t remove them without help.
  • Wash masks after each use. A regular washing machine will sterilize them.
  • When taking off your mask, be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Wash your hands immediately after removing it.

For more information on face masks, see the CDC website’s FAQ.

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Stay informed by checking these resources for up-to-date information about COVID-19, especially if you’re thinking about traveling.