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With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas.
Keep Everyone Safer
If you are likely to be in close contact with someone infected, a mask cuts the chance of the disease being passed on. If you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, or have been diagnosed, wearing a mask can also protect others.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Wearing a face mask is certainly not an iron-clad guarantee that you won’t get sick – viruses can also transmit through the eyes and tiny viral particles, known as aerosols, can penetrate masks.
However, masks are effective at capturing droplets, which is a main transmission route of coronavirus, and some studies have estimated a roughly fivefold protection versus no barrier alone
Are masks even effective?
Although Homemade masks are less effective than surgical mask, they still offer a physical barrier from viral particles. They are better than not wearing one at all, especially for people who only go out in public to make a quick trip to the grocery store or pharmacy.
Masks cannot replace social distancing measures. Maintaining at least six feet of distance from others and staying home as much as possible is still the best way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
How do I wear it?
Masks are only effective if you wear them properly.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before touching or putting on the mask.
- Make sure your entire nose and mouth are covered when you put it on.
- Avoid touching the mask while you’re out — this can contaminate it.
- Do not take the mask off while you’re in public.
- To take it off once you return, untie it from the back — don’t touch the front of it.
- You should immediately wash the mask after returning so it doesn’t contaminate your belongings.
- Wash your hands immediately after you’ve taken it off, and again after you’ve washed the mask.
How do you clean them?
You should launder the masks before and after each use to clean off any germs you might have picked up in public. Hand wash the masks or put them in a mesh wash bag in the washing machine so they don’t fall apart, and use a high heat setting.
Are face masks a replacement for social distancing?
Covering your face when you leave the house is a “voluntary public health measure” and must not replace proven precautions like self-quarantine at home, social distancing and thoroughly washing your hands.