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How do I keep my mask clean?

Keeping your mask clean is KEY to staying healthy! Think of masks like socks and underwear—you would not put on an unclean pair the next day, so why would you put an unclean mask on your face? Cloth masks are GREAT because they can be washed, are quick to make, and for many people are FREE!

How do you keep your mask as clean as possible?

1. Wash your hands before and after putting the mask on and do not touch the front of the mask.
2. Put the mask on a clean surface like a paper towel or in a bag if you need to take it off.
3. Wash the mask at the end of the day or when you get home! Here are two options for washing:
– Put it in a pillowcase and toss it in the washing machine with your clothes.
– Soak it in a bowl with warm, soapy water and vinegar for 20 minutes. Rinse it out well, wring it, and hang it to dry overnight. You can also put it in a pillowcase and dry it in the dryer.

When in doubt, throw it out and get a new piece of cotton cloth! Remember, T-shirts make great cloth masks.

Why a cloth mask? Why not a medical mask?

Such a good question! Cloth masks are:
– Easy to make with things many of us have lying around the house: scarves, t-shirts, bandanas and rubber bands.
– Free if we use what we have at home!
– Washable in a sink or in our laundry.
– Effective to help trap our germs and to keep us from touching our faces.

Who needs surgical masks and N95 masks?

Only first responders who are close to patients for more than a few seconds need surgical masks and N95 masks. It is going to take time for everyone to understand and accept this, but now is not the time for everyone to start getting hospital masks. Cloth masks are a part of the effort to help keep our community healthy!

What is the goal of a cloth mask?

1. Many people who have caught coronavirus do not know they have it until they develop symptoms a few days later. In that time, they can spread the virus without knowing it any time they cough, sneeze, or touch something with their hands.

2. People who do not have coronavirus can catch it from many routes—one of which is touching their face. A cloth mask can help!
– Someone who has the virus is less likely to spread it if the germs can stay trapped in a cloth mask.
– Someone who does not have it is less likely to get ill when wearing a mask if they cannot touch their face.

Masks DO NOT:

Prevent all germs from getting through. This is why we all MUST keep a physical distance of at least 6 feet from each other and wash our hands at least 10 times a day. NOTHING works better than physical distancing. It is going to take time for everyone to understand and improve our habits—but we can do it!

Credit: Dr. Cynthia Anderson, Baptist Oncology

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