How to properly wear a face mask in public

The CDC is now recommending that the public wear cloth face masks when out in crowded places like the grocery store.
The CDC is now recommending that the public wear cloth face masks when out in crowded places like the grocery store.(WSAZ)
Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 1:41 PM EDT
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The Centers for Disease Control is now recommending the public wear cloth masks when out in places where it's difficult to maintain social distancing, like the grocery store.

"Any mask is better than no mask," said Sgt. First Class Steve Morrison, with the West Virginia National Guard.

If you have facial hair, you might want to trim it up, because longer hairs can make it more difficult to create a proper seal around your face.

First, you should wash your hands because if you put on gloves or a mask with unclean hands, you could possibly contaminate the items and defeat the purpose.

"One of the biggest issues is you’re touching your face around the respirator, so you’re potentially contaminating the surface of the respirator. The other issue is, with the straps around the back of your neck, if you have dirty hands and you touch the back of your head or neck, you’ve contaminated your hair."

N95 masks should be reserved for medical workers on the front line, but homemade masks can help if you make sure there are no gaps or holes and that it's flush against your face. There's also a proper way to take them on and off.

"Take one hand and hold the respirator against your face," said Morrison. "Make sure you aren't touching any other part of the face. Then take the other hand, take the bottom strap and bring it over the top of the head and pull the mask directly away from her face."

Since the virus is able to be absorbed into your system through the eyes, nose and mouth, make sure the mask keeps your nose and face covered.

"They’ll pull it down to where their nose is hanging out or they’ll take it down so they can talk to someone once they feel that they're safe," said Morrison. "The big problem with that is we’re not covering the airway which is the whole idea of the mask and two we’re unnecessarily touching our face and we’re unnecessarily touching the outside of the mask."

After taking off your mask and gloves, wash your hands again since they may have been contaminated.

The disposable items go directly in the trash. Don't set them down on any surfaces which could potentially spread the virus.

The CDC says cloth masks aren't 100 percent effective, but they could slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent those who may be infected unknowingly from spreading to others.

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