While surgical and N95 masks are in short supply and must be reserved for health care providers, cloth masks are easy to find and can be washed and reused.
Asking everyone to wear cloth masks can help reduce the spread of the corona virus by people who have COVID-19 but don’t realize it. Countries that required face masks, testing, isolation and social distancing early in the pandemic seem to have had some success slowing the spread of the virus.
Cloth masks are cheap and simple to make. Instructions are easy to find online. Masks can be made from common materials, such as sheets made of tightly woven cotton.
The CDC website even includes directions for no-sew masks made from bandannas and T-shirts. Cloth masks should include multiple layers of fabric. Navigate to this site, to know more about different kind of face masks.
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Cloth face masks should be worn in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as in grocery stores, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
Here are a few pointers for putting on and taking off a cloth mask:
- Place your mask over your mouth and nose.
- Tie it behind your head or use ear loops and make sure it’s snug.
- Don’t touch your mask while wearing it.
- If you accidentally touch your mask, wash or sanitize your hands.
- Remove the mask by untying it or lifting off the ear loops without touching the front of the mask or your face.
- Wash your hands immediately after removing your mask.
- Regularly wash your mask with soap and water in the washing machine. It’s fine to launder it with other clothes.