Face coverings can be an effective means of slowing the spread of the infectious agent for many respiratory illnesses and may help slow the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a face covering does NOT provide complete protection and does not replace other ways of slowing virus spread such as:
- Staying away from public places & group gatherings
- Practicing physical distancing
- Washing hands and using hand sanitizer often
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth
HOW SHOULD FACE COVERINGS BE HANDLED?
- Cloth face coverings should be handled assuming they are contaminated with the virus causing COVID-19.
- Cloth face coverings should be removed without touching the inside. They should be immediately placed with dirty laundry, or stored in a plastic bag until they can be properly cleaned.
- Wash your hands after handling a used face covering or use hand sanitizer if hand washing is not an option. If possible, wash your face after removing a face covering.
- Cloth face coverings should be washed in hot water after each use. Follow CDC guidelines at go.ncsu.edu/cdclaundry.
HOW DO CLOTH FACE COVERINGS WORK?
- Proper use may restrict the spread of virus from an infected person, specifically when someone doesn't know they have the virus.
- Cloth face coverings are tested for their ability to trap viruses in respiratory droplets moving at high velocity, such as in a cough or sneeze.
HOW SHOULD FACE COVERINGS BE WORN?
- Cloth face coverings can be uncomfortable to wear. A proper fit is tight over the nose, mouth and chin.
- Shaving is not necessary for cloth face coverings or surgical masks.
- Cloth face coverings can help reduce disease transmission but wearing one does not provide absolute protection.
- According to CDC, wear cloth face coverings whenever interacting with the public or when caring for someone who is sick or may be infected.
- It is not necessary to wear a face covering while at home or outside for exercise.
Stay informed: ext.vt.edu/covid-19updates
Updated April 27, 2020
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April 16, 2020