The consistent wearing of a cloth face mask covering your nose and mouth, washing your hands, and practicing social distancing will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community and save lives. Wearing a mask is not just about protecting yourself; it's about protecting everyone. At work, in the community, and at home.
Wearing a face mask helps prevent the virus from entering the air where others can inhale. Masks trap the viral droplets in their fibers. When combined with social distancing and frequent hand washing, face masks help prevent people from unknowingly spreading the virus.
Normalize wearing a face mask every time you leave home, and especially when you will be around others, not in your household. You never know when you might stop to talk to a neighbor or delivery person or even pass someone while walking or jogging. Although you may think it is easy to distance six feet from others outside, it's not always possible.
The best face masks are ones you will wear properly. They should be comfortable and cover the nose and chin without slipping. Whether your face mask ties at the back of the head or loops over the ears with elastic is not important, as long as it fits and stays in place. A face mask that requires constant adjustment can be unsafe. If you are continually touching your face to keep your mask from slipping and your hands are contaminated, you can inadvertently expose yourself to the virus. Wearing a mask properly can also act as a conscious reminder not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
A cloth face mask should be washed and dried after each use. Because the virus cannot live for more than a week on cloth surfaces, an alternative is to make or buy several masks in order to always have a clean one on hand. Wash your hands before taking your mask off. Use the straps or elastic bands to remove it, then rewash your hands. This helps guard against spreading contamination from your hands or the mask to your face.
Wearing a mask can reduce the number of infectious droplets inhaled by the wearer. Together, we can make a difference and limit the spread of COVID-19.