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Mayo offers tips on how to wear a cloth mask

As Mayo Clinic Health System continues to monitor the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease), the ongoing safety of patients, staff and communities remains our primary focus.

To protect our patients and staff, Mayo Clinic Health System is offering the community information about how to wear a cloth mask correctly and answer a few questions we’ve been asked about safety measures around masks.

How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings

Cloth face coverings should:

• fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face

• be secured with ties or ear loops

• include multiple layers of fabric

• allow for breathing without restriction

• be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

Q. Is the cloth face covering the same as surgical/procedural mask and/or N95s?

A. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical/procedural masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Q. Should cloth face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned regularly? How regularly?

A. Yes. They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.

Q. How do I store my cloth mask?

A. Mask storage: Do not place in pocket for later use. Carefully fold the mask so the contaminated outside is folded inward and against itself. Place in paper bag, perform hand hygiene.

Q. How does one safely clean a cloth face covering?

A. A washing machine or hand washing should suffice to properly wash a cloth face covering with regular laundry detergent.  The CDC does not make a particular water temperature recommendation for washing face coverings.

Q. How does one safely remove a used cloth face covering?

A. Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their cloth face covering and perform hand hygiene immediately after removing.  Source: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/DIY-cloth-face-covering-instructions.pdf

Q. When wearing a mask, what should you do when eating or drinking?

A. You should remove and store your mask to eat and drink. After removing the mask, you should clean your hands. Ensure social distancing while eating and drinking. To prevent self-contamination, do not pull the mask down or leave it on in any way while eating or drinking.

Q. Can you pull down your mask to talk to someone?

A. No. It is important to keep your mask appropriately in place over the nose and mouth to provide intended protection. Try to avoid manipulating the mask as much as possible once it is on.

Q. What should you do if you accidentally touch your mask?

A. You should perform hand hygiene immediately after touching the mask.

Q. Should patients and visitors be masked?

A. Patients and visitors are required to wear homemade or cloth masks, or others they have personally obtained, while on Mayo Clinic property.