“My mask protects you, your mask protects me”
Wearing a cloth face covering when out in public will help keep the public and our essential workers safe. Many people infected with the virus don’t exhibit the symptoms of COVID-19 and unwittingly spread it to others when they go unmasked to the grocery store or other essential business. The best course of action is to assume you have the virus and protect others by social distancing, washing your hands regularly and, when you absolutely must go to a grocery store or other essential business, wear a cloth mask.
Cloth face coverings should:
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- be secured with ties or ear loops
- include multiple layers of fabric
- allow for breathing without restriction
- be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on:
- young children under age 2
- anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance
Do not use surgical masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE) intended for health care workers.
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used.
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
Should cloth face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned regularly? How regularly? Yes. They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.
How does one safely sterilize/clean a cloth face covering? A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a cloth face covering.
How does one safely remove a used cloth face covering? Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their cloth face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.