Should I wear a face mask when I go out in public?

In order to help protect yourself and others, the CDC recommends that you wear a cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, like grocery stores and pharmacies. This is especially important in areas where there has been significant community-based transmission.

One of the big reasons for this is that the virus can be spread by people who do not know they are infected. Some people will never know (unless tested) as they can have the virus and be asymptomatic (never experiencing any symptoms). Others, who do get sick, could be transmitting the disease before they experience symptoms.

We know that when a person who has coronavirus comes in contact with someone who does not, they are least likely to transmit the disease if both people are wearing a face covering. We also know that some people are more susceptible to getting infected, and/or to becoming very sick due to the infection. Therefore, to help keep everyone safe (especially these most vulnerable members of our families and society) it is important for all of us to add this new accessory to our wardrobes.

What Kind of Face Covering is Best?

Due to shortages of surgical or N-95 respirators, it is critical that these medical supplies be used and distributed by medical providers or other first responders. Cloth coverings are the appropriate choice for everyday use.

While it is possible to buy both simple and fashionable coverings, you can easily make your own. Watch the U.S. Surgeon General demonstrate one option that just requires a bandana or similar piece of cloth.

Make sure that it fits comfortably, is secure, and uses multiple layers of fabric. You’ll also need to make sure you can breathe without restriction. It should be washed in a washing machine on a regular basis.

Check out the CDC’s page with more information on how to wear, wash, and make a face covering.