Cloth masks: How and why, per the CDC

April, Archive, COVID Blog, Feel Good, Month, Staying Healthy, Topics

The curve is flattening thanks in large part to masks and social distancing

These days, on the few occasions we leave our homes, it’s not uncommon to encounter more people wearing masks than those who are not.

Covering the mouth and nose, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has strongly encouraged the practice of wearing a mask in public in an effort to flatten the COVID-19 curve — to help stem the spread of the coronavirus and avoid overwhelming the nation’s healthcare system.

Recent data has proved encouraging. The practice of wearing a mask and social distancing has shown it’s slowing the spread. To build upon this progress, these practices will continue.

Why wear the mask?

The CDC strongly encourages everyone to wear a mask in any public space, especially those places where social distancing might prove more difficult, places like grocery stores and pharmacies.

It advises the use of masks because they have been shown to significantly decrease the chances a person can shed the virus and potentially infect another person.

These mask don’t have to be especially complex — masks can be made from common materials found around the house. (Learn how to make a mask here.)

How to properly use a mask

Masks for everyday usage do not need to be sophisticated. National supplies continue to dictate the N-95 and surgical masks be reserved for healthcare workers, but cloth masks have still proven effective, according to CDC guidelines.

Masks should:

  • Fit snugly against the nose and sides of the face
  • Loop around the ears for a secure fit
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for unrestricted breathing

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth when taking the mask off.

Masks should not be used on children aged 2 and younger, nor should they be used on anyone who has trouble breathing or might not be able to remove their mask unassisted. In these instances, a physician should be consulted regarding which steps should be taken to ensure that person’s safety.

Masks are safe to be laundered and reused, however, avoid using a damaged mask. The frequency of a mask’s washing should be consistent with the frequency of its usage.