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Do's and don'ts of face masks. Learn how to use yours correctly.

Reviewed 5/6/2021

Do's and don'ts of cloth face masks

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear cloth face masks when out in public, especially in places where it's hard to social distance, like the grocery store.

That's because the coronavirus spreads via droplets sent into the air by talking, coughing and sneezing. It may also be able to linger in the air indoors. Since it's possible to have the virus and not show symptoms, wearing a cloth face mask helps stop the spread.

But a face mask that's handled the wrong way minimizes its effectiveness. Follow these do's and don'ts to avoid spreading and catching the coronavirus while wearing a cloth face mask.

DON'T: Wear your mask below your nose or under your chin.

DO: Wear your mask so it fully covers your mouth and nose and fits snugly against the sides of your face. You should wear your mask the entire time you're in a public setting.

DON'T: Touch your mask while wearing it. If you do, wash your hands immediately.

DO: Wash your hands before putting your mask on and after you remove it. Handle your mask only by the ear loops or ties.

DON'T: Wear a dirty or soiled mask.

DO: Clean your mask in the washing machine after it becomes soiled or at the end of each day's use. In general, cloth face masks should be washed using water and a mild detergent, then dried completely in a hot dryer.

DON'T: Share masks with others.

DO: Store your mask in a clean container or bag when not in use.

DON'T: Put masks on children under 2 years old.

DO: Make sure that you and any children age 2 and older are able to breathe easily while wearing your masks.

DON'T: Use a mask as a replacement for social distancing.

DO: Maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and others when you're out in public, even when you're wearing a face mask.

Masks are just one piece of the puzzle. Learn more ways to protect yourself from COVID-19.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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