Do I Need to Wear a Face Mask?

With three-digit temperatures  in some parts of Arizona, many people are asking if they really need to wear a mask when in public. While it might be uncomfortable, wearing a cloth mask continues to be one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. One of the main reasons to wear a mask is that some people who are infected might not have any symptoms and wearing protects those around you. 

But what is the best way to wear a face mask? Should it cover my nose, mouth and chin? When it’s hot out, it’s a bit more comfortable to only cover the mouth and leave the nose exposed. Is this okay? And when can it be removed? Getting into a hot car can make it hard to breathe, even more so with a mask. Should you wait until you get home to take off the face mask? Then, there’s the best way to take off the mask. What part of the mask should I avoid touching? How often should it be washed (if not disposable)?

To help answer some of the questions related to the proper use of face masks, AHCCCS shares tips from The Center for Disease Control (CDC) on how to safely wear and take off a cloth face covering. 

HOW TO PUT ON A FACE MASK 

  • Wash your hands before putting on your face mask
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin 
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face 
  • Make sure you can breathe easily
  • Do not place a mask on a child younger than 2 years old

HOW TO WEAR A FACE MASK

  • Wear a face mask to help protect others in case you’re infected but don’t have symptoms 
  • Keep the mask on your face the entire time you’re in public 
  • Don’t put the mask around your neck or up on your forehead 
  • Don’t touch the face mask, and, if you do, clean your hands

HOW TO TAKE OFF A FACE MASK

  • Wait until you get home to take off your face mask
  • Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops 
  • Handle only by the ear loops or ties 
  • Fold outside corners together 
  • Place face mask in the washing machine
  • Wash the mask after each use or dispose
  • Wash your hands with soap and water

FOLLOW EVERYDAY HEALTHY HABITS

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others 
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick 
  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds each time 
  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available

ISOLATE IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS OR ARE INFECTED 

If you have mild symptoms or know you’re infected, follow your doctor’s advice around isolation and avoid exposing others. If you can’t avoid going out (e.g., going to the doctor), wear a mask to protect others.

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