The evidence is in. Face coverings keep us safer and help slow COVID-19. That’s an important fact to remember the next time you visit the grocery store or meet up with friends inside a public venue.
Combined with regularly sanitizing our hands and social distancing, we can all help slow the spread of a pandemic that continues to infect people all over the world and right here in Southwest Florida.
So if we’re going to be dedicated to wearing masks, it only makes sense that we know just HOW to wear them and how to clean them so we can get the most use out of them. Read on for all the details.
Experts highly recommend that members of the public wear cloth masks. Paper or surgical masks are effective in blocking large droplets, but they don’t provide as much safety as cloth because of the looser fit. They are better than nothing, however.
Remember, paper or surgical masks are designed to be used only ONCE! For more info, click here.
Many people are opting to wear homemade masks. The CDC shows detailed instructions on how to make masks here. Cotton fabric is recommended, and you can also make masks out of bandanas and old T-shirts—as long as the fabric is solid. Masks with loose fabric such as a crochet mask are not recommended.
So how should you wash that cloth mask? Simply put it in the washing machine with a regular load of laundry. You can use normal detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the kind of cloth you have.
You can wash your mask by hand using a bleach solution. Find full directions here.
Dry your mask on the highest heat setting in the dryer or you can lay it flat or on a clothesline in the sun. Make sure your mask is completely dry before wearing it.
Remember: Masks may not protect you, but they protect other people when social distancing isn’t possible. The virus is mainly spread through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking. That means you are doing a generous public service when you decide to wear a mask.
Sources: Florida's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard, Florida Department of Health, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection. Lee, Collier, Port Charlotte, Hendry, and Glades. July 1, 2020.