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Face Masks 101: Keep your germs to yourself

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Are you leaving your house to be in a public place where you will encounter other people? Then you should wear a face mask in order to keep your germs to yourself and help slow the spread of COVID-19. The basics of wearing a face mask, from the Centers for Disease Control:

HOW TO WEAR A MASK

• Wash your hands before putting on your face mask.

• Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.

• Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.

• Make sure you can breathe easily.

• If you are within 6 feet of other people, don’t pull your mask down. Keep it covering your nose and mouth — otherwise, you’re just wasting your time.

HOW TO TAKE OFF A MASK

• When you’re home, untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops.

• Handle only by the ear loops or ties. Treat the cloth part like it’s covered in germs.

• Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing, and wash hands immediately after removing.

HOW TO WASH A MASK

• You can include your face covering with your regular laundry and wash it in the washing machine. Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the face covering.

• To wash by hand, prepare a bleach solution by mixing 5 tablespoons of household bleach per gallon of room temperature water, or 4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of room temperature water. (Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection. Some bleach products, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing, may not be suitable for disinfection.) Soak the face covering in the bleach solution for 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water.

• To dry in the clothes dryer, use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry. To air dry, lay flat and allow to completely dry. If possible, place the cloth face covering in direct sunlight.

IF YOU WEAR GLASSES

If your mask doesn’t fit your face well, warm air is likely to escape and fog up your lenses. The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers these tips to prevent your glasses from fogging up while you’re wearing a face mask:

• When putting on your mask, make sure to pinch the top of the mask to fit the shape of your nose. If your mask allows it, tighten the sides as well for a good fit.

• Use medical or athletic tape to close the gap between the bridge of your nose and the top of your mask. If you don’t have tape, try an adhesive bandage.

• Wipe your lenses before wearing them. An anti-fogging solution or even gently washing your lenses with soap and water before wearing them may help.

• Adjust your glasses. Pushing your glasses forward on your nose will allow more air to circulate and keep your breath from fogging up your vision.  

• Try pulling your mask up over your nose and rest your glasses on top of it. This will block the air from escaping and prevent fogging. Your nose and mouth should still be completely covered.