While hand-washing and social and physical distancing are the best ways to protect yourself against the new coronavirus, experts now recommend wearing cloth masks as an added measure of protection. Read our tips to learn what kind of mask to wear and when.
This is the most accessible mask type and can be made at home with a variety of materials. While cloth masks offer the lowest level of protection, they may be helpful to contain coughs and to remind people not to touch their face.
When to Wear a Cloth Mask
For the general public, especially those who have higher risk factors for COVID-19, and in areas where distancing is difficult to maintain such as grocery stores or public transportation.
Surgical and procedural masks offer better protection than cloth masks. While surgical and procedural masks don’t have a tight seal, they protect against respiratory droplet spread.
When to Wear a Surgical Mask
People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are quarantining at home.
People who are caring for a COVID-19 patient who is unable to wear a mask at home.
Health care workers in patient areas but who are not working directly with patients who have COVID-19.
Called N95 respirators, these medical devices are fitted to the wearer to ensure a tight seal and the maximum protection from exposure to tiny droplets that can remain suspended in the air.
When to Wear a Respirator
For health care workers testing and treating patients with COVID-19.