How to Wear Masks
Cross-posted from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Masks are an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with every day preventive actions and social distancing in public settings.
- CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people.
- Masks should NOT be worn by children under age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Do NOT use a mask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
Wear Your Mask Correctly
- Wash your hands before putting on your mask
- Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
- Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
- Make sure you can breathe easily
- CDC does not recommend use of masks or cloth masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent
Wear a Mask to Protect Others
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect others in case you’re infected with COVID-19 but don’t have symptoms
- Wear a mask in public settings when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when it may be difficult for you to stay six feet apart
- Wear a mask correctly for maximum protection
- Don’t put the mask around your neck or up on your forehead
- Don’t touch the mask, and, if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to disinfect
Follow Everyday Health Habits
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds each time
- Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
Take Off Your Mask Carefully, When You’re Home
- Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops
- Handle only by the ear loops or ties
- Fold outside corners together
- Place mask in the washing machine (learn more about how to wash masks)
- Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing.
Visit CDC.gov to Learn more about using masks to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Note: To learn more about COVID-19 and HIV, visit HIV.gov’s COVID-19 and People with HIV page.
Update: On November 10, 2020, CDC released updated scientific evidence that using face masks protects wearers, not just those around them.