Non-medical masks help contain the tiny respiratory droplets that exit the mouth and nose when we talk, yell, sing, cough, sneeze etc. In this way, masks prevent virus-containing droplets from landing on people or surfaces, thereby reducing the transmission of COVID-19.
Our public health agencies are recommending the use of non-medical masks, cloth masks, or face coverings (unless otherwise medically exempt) when in indoor public spaces. They can be protective in situations where physical distancing is not possible, or may be otherwise unpredictable.
Use a non-medical mask that has 3 layers so that the droplets do not pass through the fabric. Make sure the mask covers the mouth, nose and chin, and ensure a proper fit (i.e. no gaps through which droplets can escape). Some additional tips to remember when using, removing and/or storing a mask:
- Wash hands before putting on the mask.
- Avoid touching your face while wearing a mask, and if you do so, wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer) immediately to disinfect your hands.
- Do not hang the mask from your ears or place it under your chin, as this increases the risk of infection.
- Remove the mask by handling the ties or ear loops. Do not shake the mask so as to prevent the spread of particles in the air.
- Dispose immediately in a wastebasket, and wash your hands thoroughly. If using a cloth mask, store in a paper or cloth bag until you put it on again, or until you launder it at the end of the day. Launder with other clothing in hot water and laundry detergent.
- Do not share a mask with anyone.