COVID-19 Preventative Measures: How To Use Cloth Face Coverings
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.
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law
April 16, 2020