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COVID-19: Wearing A Face Mask? Here Are Some Important Safety Steps To Remember

Face mask
Face mask Photo Credit: Pixabay

With protective face masks becoming a new safety statement amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control is offering advice to ensure they are used most effectively.

The CDC recently changed its stance and said that those venturing into the community during the COVID-19 outbreak, after initially saying it was only key for healthcare workers.

“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

“CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  

"Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”

President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 task force has cautioned that even if one is wearing a mask, it doesn’t prevent the spread of the virus, and people should still be socially distancing themselves from one another.

"It is not a substitute for the presidential guidelines (on social distancing) that have already gone out," Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force said at its daily news briefing on Thursday, April 2, said.

"Don't get a false sense of security that that mask is protecting you exclusively from getting infected. This worries us. That’s why the debate is continuing about the mask.’’

According to the CDC, when wearing face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, one should:

  • Make sure you can breathe through it;
  • Make sure it entirely covers one’s nose and mouth;
  • Make sure the mask is washed after each use;
  • Practice excellent hand hygiene and avoid touching the mask. Touching a mask with unwashed hands may transfer infectious material to it;
  • If one must adjust a mask, first wash hands thoroughly, adjust the mask and wash your hands again;
  • If a mask becomes wet or soiled, remove it, as it may cause a greater risk of infection if left on.
If one plans to reuse a  face mask, one should: 
  • Wash your hands before removing your mask.
  • Remove your mask and place it in a bag (paper is better to allow the mask to dry out thoroughly).
  • If the mask is visibly soiled or ripped and damaged, throw it away.
  • When reusing, practice good hand hygiene as described above.
  • If you have more than one mask, consider alternating use to give maximum time between uses for drying.
  • If you are using a cloth mask, remove, place in a bag for transport and launder between uses.

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