A mask isn’t effective if you don’t wear it right or wear the wrong kind. Here are some quick mask facts to know.
Recently released studies have shown that wearing a mask can reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Masks are also part of the reopening plan for schools, events and many businesses.
A mask isn’t effective, however, if you don’t wear it right or wear the wrong kind. Here are some quick mask facts to know.
- A mask is more about protecting others than protecting yourself. Testing has shown that people can have COVID-19 without having any symptoms. When you wear a mask, small respiratory particles that enter the air when you speak, sing, cough, sneeze or even breathe are trapped into the mask and have a smaller chance of infecting someone else. Studies are also showing that when worn properly, a mask can reduce the risk that you will become infected with the coronavirus.
- Masks must be worn over your mouth and nose. Yes, breathing through a mask can take some getting used to, but don’t lower your mask to breathe through your nose. When you don’t have the mask over your nose, you are breathing or sneezing potentially infectious particles into the air around you.
- A face shield isn’t the best bet to stop the coronavirus. The CDC does not recommend these clear plastic face shields, and it is not known if they are as effective as cloth masks at preventing your respiratory particles from reaching others. However, worn with a face mask, a plastic shield may offer you a greater level of protection.
- A face mask with an exhalation valve doesn’t help protect others. The valve makes it easier for you to exhale, but it also lets your germs out into the air. When it comes to protecting others, a mask with an exhalation valve is like not wearing one at all.
- You don’t need an N95 mask. Studies have shown that a mask made of at least two layers of cloth will be effective as long as it is snug with no large gaps around the top or sides. The best material is a tightly woven cotton, which can include a bandanna.
- Masks should not be worn by children younger than 2 years old.
See some other facts about face masks.
“In addition to wearing a mask, you should continue to wash hands and use sanitizer, keep plenty of space between you and others, and definitely stay home if you’re ill,” said Paul S. Schulz, M.D., an infectious diseases specialist and chief of Norton Infectious Diseases Institute. “If you don’t want to wear a mask, remember that you’re putting others around you at risk.”
How to put on a face mask
Apply hand sanitizer or wash your hands.
Pick up your mask by the ear straps or loops.
Put the mask loops around your ears or, if it ties, one knot should be high on the back of your head and the other at the bottom of your head near your neck.
Mold the nose piece (if your mask has one) around the bridge of your nose. Be sure to get as close of a seal as possible.
Pull the bottom part of the mask below your chin.