The U.S. CDC currently recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. This is one component of the broader CDC guidance that includes physically distancing, hand washing, and wearing face coverings.
These non-medical face coverings are not the same as a surgical mask or a respirator. According to the CDC, people who should not wear a face mask include children under the age of 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or has a related health condition, and anyone who can't remove a face mask without help.
Face coverings/masks are NOT a substitute for a government-approved respirator and should not be relied upon for respiratory protection (wearer exposure reduction).
A non-medical face covering or face mask is not the same as a surgical mask or a N95 respirator. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. CDC says surgical masks and respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for health care workers and other first responders.
A simple way to think about it: respirators can help protect you while you breath in; cloth or single use face masks are more about helping protect those around you as you talk, cough or sneeze.
Surgical masks are used by health care workers as a barrier to help protect them from high-velocity streams of liquids, such as blood, that they may be exposed to during certain medical procedures. Surgical masks can also help capture some particles and droplets expelled by the wearer, such as those that may contain viruses and bacteria.
An N95 respirator or similar respirator is intended to seal tightly to the face, covering the mouth and nose, and filters at least 95% of airborne particles, including those that may contain viruses and bacteria. N95 respirators play a crucial role for health care workers, first responders and other essential workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic
Here are a few helpful tips you can try to stop the fogging:
The recommended method for cleaning your face mask is to hand wash vigorously with soap and warm water for at least 5 minutes. Rinse and let air dry.
To maintain the integrity of your reusable mask and avoid possible damage, it is recommended that you avoid machine washing and wash by hand only.
It’s important to clean your reusable mask daily after use. The multi-pack options allow you to have a back-up mask available for use while cleaning the other.
The 3M™ Daily Face Masks come in a resealable pouch providing the ideal place to store your clean and dry masks when not in use. If you no longer have the original package, storing your clean and dry mask in a new paper bag or a sealed plastic storage bag will keep it clean from contaminants. (Do NOT put a wet mask in a sealed plastic bag.)
According to the U.S. CDC, here are some important things to look for in a non-medical cloth face mask:
Be sure to always refer to the package for detailed instructions, but follow these tips for best results:
- Wash your hands before putting the mask on.
- Handle by the loops and check condition of mask. If visibly damaged, discard the mask.
- Put loops around your ears and use both hands to bend nose clip to rest snugly against nose and face.
- Pull the mask under your chin and ensure the mask is snug against your face.
- Adjust the ear loops if necessary, to ensure it conforms against your face.