RAPID CITY, S.D. — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people wear masks in public, especially when you can’t social distance from others.
Anya Mueller has some tips to remember when cleaning and handling your mask.
The first point of hygiene is to wash your hands before putting on your mask and taking it off.
It should fit over your nose and mouth and secure under your chin. Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face but also make sure you can breathe easily.
The CDC recommends not to put the mask around your neck or up on your forehead. Try not to touch your mask, because it could be contaminated with someone else’s respiratory droplets.
Do not use masks with valves or vents to prevent disease transmission.
“What the CDC really recommends is wearing ones (masks) that have a loop or have ties, it’s a lot safer when using that type of mask when removing and putting it on,” said Ty White, the Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Monument Health. “Potentially the outside of the mask could be contaminated, so it’s easier to take one off that’s either tied over your ear- you don’t want to touch the front of the mask.”
White says that if you remove the mask to eat or drink, you can set it down on a tissue or paper towel and put back on when ready. Just make sure you are sanitizing your hands before and after handling the mask.
Cloth face masks should be washed regularly. You can use the regular wash cycle and dry on high heat if possible. You can also hand wash it and air dry it in the sun.
White advises storing the clean, dry mask in a breathable place to keep it safe from germs, like a new paper bag.
“The important piece when we are storing it, we want to make sure that it’s breathable so we don’t want to have something in a plastic container or something that’s sealed up,” White said.
White says the key piece is to wear the mask, so make sure it is comfortable to you.
“So if we are all wearing our masks, you know the likelihood of spreading COVID-19 is extremely low, and if we’re all doing that we are protecting each other and our community to be, you know, a safe place,” says White.
White adds the disposable masks are good for one day’s use.
Click here for more mask information from the CDC.