Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Although it’s tempting to return to our pre-COVID-19 routines, we are still not in the clear and need to take special precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends staying home as much as possible and being diligent about hand washing and cleaning high-touch surfaces. If you do venture out, the CDC recommends wearing a face mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, avoiding crowds or large groups and cleaning your hands often. 

Since many people with the virus may not have symptoms or may be in the early stages of developing symptoms, wearing a face mask helps prevent the transmission of the virus by blocking the spread of respiratory droplets that can be carried in the air when someone coughs, sneezes or talks. Here are some tips on wearing a face mask.

Who should wear a face mask?

The CDC recommends that anyone over the age of 2 wear a mask unless they have trouble breathing or if a person is incapacitated, unconscious or unable to remove the mask without help.  

What types of masks are best?

A cloth face mask is recommended for the public to preserve the critical supply of surgical masks and N95 masks for healthcare workers and medical first responders.

When should you wear a mask?

It is best to wear a mask when in public areas where it is difficult to maintain other social distancing efforts, like grocery stores and pharmacies. While wearing a mask, continue to practice social distancing (keeping at least 6 feet between you and another person) and avoid large gatherings of people. Also, make sure to wear a mask and gloves if caring for someone who is sick.   

What is the proper way to handle a mask?

  • Wash or sanitize your hands before putting on a clean mask.
  • Place the mask over your nose and mouth and under your chin and tie it behind your head or use the ear loops to ensure it is securely in place without gaps along the sides of your face. Make sure you can breathe easily while wearing the mask.
  • Avoid touching your mask while wearing it. Clean your hands right away if you accidentally touch your mask.
  • Do not touch the front of your mask when removing it. Instead, untie it or remove using the ear loops.
  • Do not place your mask around your neck or on your forehead when not in use.
  • Wash your hands immediately after removing your mask.
  • Clean your mask after every use. Cloth face masks can be included in your regular laundry load in the washing machine. Allow the mask to dry completely before wearing it.

How to make your own mask

There are numerous websites offering tips and videos on how to make your own masks. Please note that cloth masks should include several layers of fabric. Learn how to make your own cloth face mask with these instructions from the CDC.

Norman Regional Health System remains committed to your health. Learn more about our telemedicine offerings and stay up-to-date on Norman Regional’s COVID-19 response efforts, which includes details on what to do if you think you may have COVID-19.