How to Wear a Face Mask (Infographic)
Published July 2020
Do’s and Don’ts of Mask-Wearing
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has continued to refine its masking guidelines. For the latest guidelines, visit the CDC website. Recommendations vary based on a number of factors:
- Vaccination status
- Current spread of the virus in your location
- Risk factors for you and others in your household
- Density of people in an outdoor location
- Current COVID-19 infection or recent exposure
Types of Masks
There are many types of masks you can use to protect yourself and others. Here is a look at some of the most common types of protection available.
- Surgical masks. Also known as a medical mask, these filter out large particles in the air. They should only be worn once and then discarded.
- Cloth masks. Cloth masks should have multiple layers of fabric and fit securely around your face, completely covering your nose and mouth. A wire in the part that covers the bridge of your nose could help keep the mask securely in place. These should be washed regularly.
- Neck gaiters. For use as a mask, neck gaiters should have at least two layers of fabric. They can be folded over to create two layers if needed. These should be washed regularly.
- Cloth masks with exhalation valves should not be used, as they do not filter air you exhale. This puts others at risk.
- Face shields are not recommended, and their effectiveness is currently unknown.
How to Wear a Mask Correctly
Regardless of the mask you choose, you must wear it properly to protect yourself and those around you.
- Keep the mask on securely. It should cover from the bridge of your nose to underneath your chin. This helps keep particles from exiting and entering your mask.
- Do not share masks with others. Everyone in your household should have their own set of masks that they use.
- If your masks are reusable, remember to clean and store them safely.
- Never touch the outside of the mask.
- Wash your hands before and after handling your mask: This is as important a protective measure as wearing the mask.
- Children under age 2 should not be masked.
Masks are not a substitute for physical distancing. If you choose to gather outside your home or in public, you should remain 6 feet apart from others and wear a mask. And remember, the best way to protect yourself and others and to help end the pandemic is to get a COVID-19 vaccine.