A COVID-19 Mask Refresher
Since 2020, “mask up” has become a common refrain in the U.S. Currently, the CDC recommends masks in specific settings for individuals ages two and up who are unvaccinated, immunocompromised, or in areas of substantial or high transmission. To help enhance the health benefits of masks, we’re sharing CDC-approved guidance for how to select, wear, and care for masks:
Select: Individuals should choose disposable masks or masks that include two or more layers of washable and breathable fabric. Masks should cover their noses, mouths, and sides of their faces snugly without any gaps. Ideally, face coverings should contain nose wires, which minimize air leakage. Individuals should avoid gaiters, face shields, and masks with exhalation valves or vents.
Wear: As the CDC says, “masks that fit well protect you better.” Individuals should wash or sanitize their hands prior to putting on masks and, once they’re on, avoid touching them. If someone has facial hair, the CDC notes they may need to consider shaving or trimming their beards; using mask fitters or braces; or layering disposable masks under cloth masks. To remove masks, the CDC recommends individuals use ear loops or ties; fold the outside corners together; and immediately wash their hands.
Care: Reusable masks should be washed daily and whenever they become dirty in regular laundry with detergent or soap. Individuals should then dry their masks completely, either in the dryer or by hanging in direct sunlight. Disposable masks should be thrown away after each use. Wet or dirty masks should be stored in sealed plastic bags whereas dry, clean masks may be stored in paper bags. Individuals should always wash their hands before and after handling masks.
Do you have questions about when, where, or how you should wear a mask? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.