A pile of homemade cloth face coverings.
Healthy Living

COVID-19 Questions: Should I Wear a Cloth Face Covering?

Apr 8 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now calling for everyone to start wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. These public settings include your essential trips to the grocery store, pharmacy or to receive medical care.

But why do you need to cover your face if you are healthy? And how can you make your own cloth face covering at home? We’ve got all the information you need here.

Why everyone needs to wear a cloth face covering

We now know from recent studies that a significant number of people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic. This means they have the virus but are not displaying any of the symptoms while infected.

Additionally, we know there are a good number of presymptomatic individuals. While these people eventually develop COVID-19 symptoms, they are infected with COVID-19 for many days before becoming sick.

Both asymptomatic and presymptomatic individuals can spread the virus to others at any time during their infection when interacting in close proximity. These interactions include speaking, coughing or sneezing in public settings.

By getting everyone to wear cloth face coverings — including healthy individuals — we will be able to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities even more, especially in areas with lots of cases.

Cloth face covering check list

Your cloth face covering should:

  • fit tightly on the sides of your face, but should not be uncomfortable
  • be secured to your face with ear loops or ties
  • have multiple fabric layers
  • allow you to breathe without restrictions

Tips for making your own cloth face covering

Cloth face coverings can be made with household items at a low cost. The CDC has many recommendations on how to create cloth face coverings from common materials.

This video also provides great instructions for making a face covering at home.

Important cloth face covering information

  • Wearing a face covering is suggested in addition to social distancing practices already in place, not instead of.
  • The cloth face coverings recommended for the general public don’t include surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Please save these critical supplies for health care workers and first responders!
  • Don’t place cloth face coverings on kids under the age of 2. Also, do not place one on an unconscious or incapacitated individual who is unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Your cloth face covering needs to be washed frequently. The material you use for your covering should be able to be machine washed and dried without damage.
  • When removing your face covering after use, be careful not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth. Wash your hands immediately after removing your covering from your face.

Stay updated on what Mercy Health is doing related to COVID-19.

Call our 24/7 COVID-19 Hotline at 888-700-9011 for questions and guidance.

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1 Comment

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Ann Lensch

Very helpful -
April 10th, 2020 | 9:09am

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