Should I Wear a Face Mask?

Facts and information about the coronavirus pandemic are constantly changing. Visit the CDC site for the most up-to-date information during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Wearing a cloth face mask is an easy way that you can help flatten the curve and protect the health of your community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend wearing a reusable cloth face covering when going out in public. The CDC does not recommend surgical masks or N-95 respirators as they should be reserved for health professionals, and you should still follow social distancing measures even if you are wearing a mask.

Here’s why it’s important to wear a face mask during the coronavirus outbreak, and how to properly wear a face mask.

Why should I wear a mask?

Coronavirus is primarily spread through respiratory droplets. Face masks and face coverings help prevent the spread of the virus by keeping droplets out of the air and off surfaces.

Wearing a face mask does not prevent you from getting sick with COVID-19. Masks prevent people who are sick with COVID-19  — and those who can transmit the virus even though they are asymptomatic — from spreading the virus to others.

In other words, you wear a face covering to keep those around you safe, and those around you wear a face covering to keep you safe.

How do you wear a cloth face covering?

  • Use a reusable cloth mask rather than a surgical mask or N-95 respirator.
  • Masks should have loops that go over the ears, or ties that fasten securely.
  • It should fit snugly and touch the bridge of your nose, below your chin, and the sides of your face.
  • Make sure that your face mask covers your nose and your mouth at all times
  • Your mask should be made of multiple layers of cloth.
  • Your mask should allow you to breathe freely without restriction.
  • If your mask shifts or moves, thoroughly wash your hands for 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol before adjusting it.
  • Carefully remove your mask after use; make sure that you do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing your face covering.
  • Masks should be durable enough to go through the washing machine after use. Wash your face covering after returning home from public places.
  • Learn more about types of face masks and who should wear them

The CDC offers more information on how to wear and how to make your own cloth face mask.

Can I get COVID-19 if I wear a mask?

Wearing a mask or face covering does not protect you from getting sick with COVID-19. A mask does not replace the need to follow social distancing measures and proper hand hygiene; you must still follow the appropriate safety measures to protect yourself and others from coronavirus.

  • Follow the recommendations of your state health department. (Arkansas Department of Health).
  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Stay home if you are sick or if you have a serious health condition.
  • Keep six feet of distance between yourself and others when in public.
  • Avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

If you are sick with symptoms of COVID-19, or if you think you have been exposed to coronavirus, call your doctor’s office. Do not walk into a clinic.

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