COVID-19 Coronavirus when to wear a mask

When and How to use Masks | COVID-19 Coronavirus Education

When and How to use Masks | COVID-19 Coronavirus Education.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as in grocery stores and pharmacies, and especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. 

The CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. 

The cloth face coverings recommended are NOT surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. 

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

n95 face mask
The CDC recommends that health care workers utilize National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved N95 respirators or higher to assist in preventing exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19), especially in instances where they are providing care to an individual who is exhibiting symptoms or is known to have the virus.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC, the increase in demand has caused a shortage in the supply of N95 respirators and many suppliers have reported that it may be several months before they expect to have them back in stock. The CDC suggests that health care workers "protect themselves when caring for patients by adhering to infection prevention and control practices... It should be noted that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as the N95 respirator is just "one aspect of safe care of patients which COVID-19."

In the event that you need to wear a protective mask, the following guidelines from the WHO website explain how to do so properly. A link to a video demonstrating proper mask use is included.

How to put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask

    • Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
    • Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
    • Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
    • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not reuse single-use masks.
    • To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Watch WHO video: What is the best way to wear and dispose of masks?

Learn More about COVID-19 Coronavirus



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization