5. Is a Face Mask Enough?
Ideally, a face mask should always be used in conjunction with other mitigation practices such as frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When you are out, you should maintain a social distance of at least six feet. Also, wipe down surfaces frequently using a disinfectant. If you can stay home or work from your home remotely, then it is suggested that you shelter in place and avoid going out as much as possible. In addition, you should try to avoid crowds, which are serious vectors of the virus.
4. How to Properly Wear a Face Mask
Your mask must cover the area from the bridge of your nose down across your mouth to under your chin. The mask does not need to fit tightly but should stay in place. You should be able to talk with the mask on your face. Make sure that it does not irritate your skin or rub raw spots anywhere. When the mask is on your face, avoid touching it or adjusting the fit. You should not touch the mask or your face at all without first washing your hands with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer.
3. What to Look for in a Face Mask
If you opt to wear a cloth face mask, make sure it is made of two layers of fabric. There should be ear loops or ties so you can easily adjust the mask to get the perfect fit for your face or head. If you wear glasses, try to find a mask that sports a bendable border on the top so you can mold it down and across your nose bridge and then place the glasses on top to keep them from fogging over.
2. Do You Need an N95?
Initially, N95 masks were being reserved for healthcare workers, as the United States faced a shortage. However, companies have recently increased production of the masks substantially, so now they are widely available to the public. However, if you cannot find or afford an N95 mask then you can still wear a cloth or paper mask to successfully protect yourself and others from contracting COVID-19.
1. Making Your Own Masks
Yes, you can make your own mask by using material to create two layers. Sew them together and attach elastic for ear loops. Choose to fashion the masks from cotton fabrics, cotton sheets, or quilting cotton. If you are unsure about the fabric, hold it up to the light and look to see the density of the weave. If you see very few tiny holes, then it is ideal. However, if you see a lot of light, such as with stretchy knots, then you should pick another type of fabric.
Other options include:
- Using a bandanna
- Fashioning a mask from a hand towel
- Choosing to wear a scarf around your nose and mouth