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How Can I Use a Face Mask to Protect Myself and Others?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 12:21 PM

Wearing a face mask is an important way to help prevent the spread of infection. You should wear a face mask when you must be in close proximity to others (including other people in your house). Remember, wearing a face mask does not replace the need for social distancing. 

Mary Alice Lavin, RN, MJ, CIC, FAPIC, and Director of Infection Prevention and Control at NorthShore offers some guidelines for safely using a face mask:

  • Before touching your mask, wash your hands with soap and water. 
  • Place the flexible band on the bridge of your nose and the rest of the mask should cover your nose and mouth. 
  • Place the straps behind your ears, leaving no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • While wearing the mask, avoid touching it because if there are virus particles trapped on the outside of the mask, they will get on your hands when you touch it. 
  • If you need to adjust your mask while wearing it, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water both before and after adjusting it. 
  • If your mask feels damp, remove it and replace it with a new one. 
  • When removing your mask, carefully take it off from behind or by the straps. 
  • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose and/or mouth when removing the mask. 
  • Use masks should be disposed of immediately in a lined trash can. 

If you are using a cloth mask, please make sure it is washed after each use. For instructions on properly washing cloth face masks, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus

Need a facemask? Try making one! The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers sew and no-sew instructions on how to make your own face mask. 

Follow the guidelines below on how to properly put on and take off a face mask: 

1. Place the flexible band on the bridge of your nose. 

Face Mask Instructions

 

2. Place the straps behind your ears.

Face Mask Instructions

 

3. Clean hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water both before and after adjusting your mask. 

Face Mask Instructions

 

4. Adjust your mask so that it covers your nose and mouth. 

Face Mask Instructions

 

5. Carefully remove the mask from behind or by the straps. 

Face Mask Instructions