Here are some important things to know about how to wear, remove and care for your face mask.
Q. Why do I need to wear a mask in public?
A. You can have an active COVID-19 infection even if you don’t have symptoms. Wearing a mask protects other people. It helps keep you from spreading the virus unknowingly to others. If we all exercise this courtesy, we will help prevent the spread of the virus.
Q. Does a mask or face covering protect me from the virus?
A. The virus enters your body primarily through mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth). A homemade cloth mask does not have the filters needed to protect you from inhaling the virus. The best protection for you is to wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, and practice social distancing. However, it is very important that you wear a face covering to avoid spreading the virus unknowingly to others.
Q. What is the proper way to wear a mask?
A. The mask or face covering helps keep droplets of moisture from spreading in the air as you talk, cough or sneeze. You need to fully cover your nose and mouth in order for the mask to do its job. Don’t forget your nose!
Q. How and when should I take my mask off?
A. It is best to wait until you are in your car or your home before removing your face covering, so that you can follow a safe procedure. The recommended way to handle your mask is as follows. First, sanitize or wash your hands. Then remove the mask, being careful not to touch the outside of the mask. Also avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Place the mask either in a paper bag or directly in the laundry, depending on where you are and what kind of face covering you have. Then sanitize or wash your hands again.
Q. What should I do with my mask after I remove it?
A. If your mask or face covering can be washed, the safest recommendation is to wash it every time you wear it. If your face covering cannot be washed, then place it in a paper bag to dry before you wear it again. Do not place it in a plastic bag or closed container. Trapping a moist mask in a place without air circulation is an invitation to grow unhealthy bacteria! It’s a good idea to keep a paper bag in your car so that you have a place to put your mask after you remove it. Then you can either carry it in the house for washing, or leave it in the car to dry for its next use.