CDC Recommendations for Face Masks

April 10, 2020 By

CDC Now Recommending the Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19

I hope this email finds each of you safe, healthy, and surviving in the new reality that is the COVID-19 pandemic. News reports and figures indicate a potential “flattening of the curve,” so hopefully the situation will stabilize soon. There is a lot of information in this email, so please read it completely for your benefit, health, and safety.

Starting this week, the CDC is now recommending cloth face coverings to prevent the spread of the virus. While PPE masks of the N95 style are limited and intended for medical personnel, there have been recommendations for the use of homemade cloth masks. The article from the CDC detailing these recommendations can be read by clicking here.

In general, the CDC recommends that cloth masks should fulfill these requirements:

  • 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

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as a public health measure. A detailed description of face mask creation (including sewn, cut t-shirt, and bandana versions) and use can be found by clicking here. The CDC is advising the use of these simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. You should be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing your face covering, and wash your hands immediately after removing it. Masks should be routinely washed based on the frequency of use; a washing machine should suffice for properly washing a face covering.

Finally, if you prefer a brief video tutorial, you can also click here to watch Dr. Jerome Adams, the US Surgeon General, demonstrate a simple method using two rubber bands and a square of cloth.

If you need any help or suggestions regarding making or using face masks, please contact the clinic at 503-297-4447 with your questions. We are available by video or phone to assist you. Please remember to maintain social distancing, reduce unnecessary outings, and keep washing your hands regularly. Most importantly, take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

Best wishes for better days soon,
Seth Alley, DC, CCSP