Masks limit the transmission of respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19. They are an integral part of recognized suppressive measures that include physical distancing which includes avoidance of crowds, good hand hygiene, and immediate quarantine if you develop signs or symptoms of this virus.
Masks are only effective for protection if they are handled, worn, stored and disposed of properly.
- Do practice proper hand hygiene. Before and after handling the mask (to put on, adjust, or take off), either wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to reduce cross-contamination risk. The outside of the mask is considered dirty.
- Do mark the outside of the mask in some way so you can easily identify which side is the outside and handle it accordingly. Some individuals mark the outside with their initials in permanent ink.
- Do clean reusable masks frequently and have extra ones available so there is a clean one available for use.
- Don’t touch the outside of the mask while it is on your face.
- Don’t pull the mask below your chin while you are wearing it. Leaving it dangling or improperly fitted to your face creates opportunities for cross-contamination.
Additional information about how to wear and clean masks may be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mask website.