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Face Mask 101—It Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated

The CDC now recommends everyone wear a face mask when outside your home. No need to panic, you do not need an N95 mask or a sewing machine!

facemask instructions 02The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently shared that data indicates a significant portion of people with coronavirus are asymptiomatc, or lack symptoms, particularly in the early stages of the virus. While some later develop severe symptoms, such as cough, fever and shortness of breath, others may never develop noticable symptoms. It is important to know that once you have the virus, even if you are asymptomatic, you can still pass it to others in close proximity to you—for example, by simply speaking, coughing, or sneezing.

To limit the accidental spread of the virus by those who may not realize they have it, the CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings. This is especially important where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies. The recommendation is only for those age two and older. Per the CDC recommendations, children under the age of two, or anyone with difficulty breathing or who may not be able to remove a mask by themselves if necessary should not wear a mask.

You do not need to try and find an N95 respirator mask. Medical grade masks should be reserved for those healthcare professionals on the front lines in healthcare settings. Cloth face masks fashioned from household items can be effective in minimizing the spread of the virus. There are many simple videos available demonstrating just how easy it is—even Surgeon General Jerome Adams has a 45 second video showing how to make a homemade mask with an old t-shirt and two rubber bands. The CDC offers a simple printable tutorial with both no-sew and sew patterns to choose from. Remember, when choosing a fabric, the tighter the weave of the material, the more effective it will be.

The video below is a simple tutorial using a bandana. We have collected several other videos on a YouTube playlist for you, with videos ranging from no-sew masks to ones using sewing patterns and a more complicated, doctor recommended version.

Once you have made your mask, the CDC recommends regular washing depending on how often you use it. This can be done in a regular washing machine. Remember when removing your mask, try not to touch your face and wash your hands afterward in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.

The mask is not to be used in place of social distancing, but used in tandum with a safe six foot distance whenever possible in public areas or outside. 

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