May 06, 2020 12:00 PM

Author: Kylene Metzger


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends wearing cloth face mask coverings in public settings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in high community transmission areas. A cloth mask can prevent the person that's wearing the mask from spreading respiratory droplets when talking, sneezing, or coughing. The CDC advises the use of cloth masks to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting to others. “By putting a mask on, someone who is coughing can reduce the spread of viruses,” says Andy Pavia, MD, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at University of Utah Health. 

How to Wear a Cloth Mask

  • Wash your hands before putting on a cloth mask
  • Put the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
  • Fit snuggly but commfortably against the side of the face
  • Make sure you can breath easily
  • Do not place a mask on a child younger than 2-years-old

When Should a Cloth Mask be Worn?

If you are sick, wear a cloth mask over your nose and mouth. A mask is not needed if you are alone. A cloth mask should be worn in community settings, especially in situations where people are in close proximity to each other such as grocery stores and pharmacies. Cloth masks are not a substitute for physical distancing. 

Is a Medical Grade Facemask Okay to Wear?

Surgical masks and N95 respirators are in short supply and should be reserved for healthcare workers or other medical first responders, as recommended by CDC guidance. 

COVID-19 Prevention

Other ways to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth mask when around others
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay at least 6 feet from other people
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily

Want to Help?

Our community is our greatest asset, and whatever help you can give, we are truly grateful for.

Support Our Response

coronavirus COVID-19 face mask cloth mask slow the spread

comments powered by Disqus

Sign Up for Weekly Health Updates

Get weekly emails of the latest news from HealthFeed.

For Patients

Find a doctor or location close to you so you can get the health care you need, when you need it