CDC calls on Americans to wear masks to prevent COVID-19 spread
Americans are increasingly adopting the use of cloth face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, and the latest science may convince even more to do so.
Can face masks help slow the spread of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19? Yes, face masks combined with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, help slow the spread of the virus.
How to wear a cloth face mask
The CDC recommends that you wear a cloth face mask when you’re around people who don’t live with you and in public settings when social distancing is difficult.
Here are a few pointers for putting on and taking off a cloth mask:
- Wash or sanitize your hands before and after putting on and taking off your mask.
- Place your mask over your mouth and nose.
- Tie it behind your head or use ear loops and make sure it’s snug.
- Don’t touch your mask while wearing it.
- If you accidentally touch your mask, wash or sanitize your hands.
- If your mask becomes wet or dirty, switch to a clean one. Put the used mask in a sealable bag until you can wash it.
- Remove the mask by untying it or lifting off the ear loops without touching the front of the mask or your face.
- Wash your hands immediately after removing your mask.
- Regularly wash your mask with soap and water by hand or in the washing machine. It’s fine to launder it with other clothes.
And, here are a few face mask precautions:
- Don’t put masks on anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help.
- Don’t put masks on children under 2 years of age.
- Don’t use face masks as a substitute for social distancing.
Tips for adjusting to a face mask
It can be challenging to get used to wearing a face mask. Here are some tips for making the transition:
- Start slow. Wear your mask at home for a short time, such as while watching television. Then wear it during a short walk. Slowly increase the time until you feel more comfortable.
- Find your fit. If your mask isn’t comfortable or is too difficult to breathe through, consider other options. Masks come in a variety of styles and sizes.
- Tie one on. Instead of a face mask, try a scarf or bandanna to cover your nose and mouth.