Tips for properly wearing a mask
Now that summer heat is upon us, masks may seem hot and uncomfortable – but they are worth the discomfort as they have been shown to reduce transmission of coronavirus. And in Illinois and many other states, it is mandatory to wear a mask in the grocery store and other public places where it may be difficult to maintain social distancing.
While many people rely on washable, reusable cloth masks, disposable surgical masks are now available in the store and are a good option to cloth face coverings in the heat as they are lighter. Whatever type of mask you wear, if you feel you need a breather, take one – just be sure to maintain social distance from others before lifting your mask to cool off. If your mask becomes damp from sweat, it won’t be as effective and should be changed. If you will be out for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to carry multiple masks with you. A plastic bag will keep them clean.
To ensure you’re receiving maximum protection from your mask, follow these guidelines when donning or removing your mask:
- Wash your hands before putting the mask on.
- Inspect the mask for tears or holes. If it is torn, do not use it.
- Make sure it covers your mouth, nose and chin. Adjust it so that there are no gaps on the sides.
- Avoid touching the mask while you’re wearing it.
- Before removing your mask, wash your hands, then remove it by the loops without touching the front part and without touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- After removing your mask, wash your hands again.
- Launder your mask in a washing machine. Ideally, masks should be washed after every use.
In addition, the CDC advises face coverings should
- Fit snugly but comfortably around the side of the face.
- Be secured with ties or ear loops.
- Include multiple layers of fabric.
- Allow breathing without restriction.
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.