You may have heard previously that wearing a face mask was not necessary, but the CDC has updated information and is now advising otherwise. The 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. The use of simple cloth face coverings can slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Here is what you need to know:
Why do you need to wear cloth face coverings?
New data suggests the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.
The CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms.
Can you make your own face cloth?
The CDC states, “Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”
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.
How can you make your own face cloth?
You can use any cotton fabric such as a T-shirt. To see a tutorial on how to make a cloth mask click here.
How does one safely sterilize/clean a cloth face covering?
A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.
How does one safely remove a used cloth face covering?
The CDC says, “Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.”
Keep this in mind when making your face cloth covering:
- It should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- It should be secured with ties or ear loops
- It should include multiple layers of fabric
- Make sure it allows for breathing without restriction
- It should 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 mask without assistance.
To see a tutorial of the surgeon general making a mask click here.