Ready to Mask Up? Here's What You Need to Know

Posted April 14, 2020 by UVM Health Network


Staying at least 6 feet apart from others and frequent handwashing are still the best ways to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. But as an added precaution, some experts are now recommending that you wear a cloth mask when you need to be in public settings like the grocery store or pharmacy. These masks may help protect those around you, especially if you unwittingly carry the virus because you don't have symptoms.

In fact, the UVM Health Network is now requiring everyone who enters its facilities in Vermont and Northern New York to wear a mask. Clinical staff must wear medical masks for all patient care activities and staff who don't care for patients will wear cloth masks.

REMEMBER: Surgical masks and N-95 respirators are in short supply and recommended only for health care workers on the front lines.

Ready to Mask Up?

Here's what you need to know about making and wearing cloth face coverings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the UVM Health Network. 

DIY Masks Made Easy

Not particularly crafty? No sweat. You can make simple cloth face masks from common materials you have around the house, like scarves, bandanas, hand towels or old T-shirts.

Watch U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, show how to do it yourself in this 45-second video.

Get the Right Fit

  • Cloth face masks should be made from multiple layers of fabric and big enough to fully cover your mouth and nose, reaching to the bridge of your nose and under your chin.
  • They should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of your face and secure with ties or ear loops.
  • Be sure that you can breathe easily while wearing your face mask.

(The CDC does not recommend cloth face masks for children 2 and younger)

Keep It Clean

Machine washing your face mask frequently will sufficiently keep it safe for use.

Wear It Safely

  • Wash your hands before putting on your mask.
  • Be careful not to touch your mask once you're wearing it in public – resist pulling it down to talk to someone.
  • Before removing your mask, wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth while taking it off.
  • As soon as your mask is off, throw your mask in the washing machine and wash your hands. 

When to Wear Your Mask at Home

If you have a cough or fever or are experiencing other symptoms of COVID-19, wear your mask to protect the other people in your household. 

Have Some Fun

If you are crafty, this DIY project could be an outlet for self-expression. Use tightly woven cotton fabric with a pattern that makes a statement. We could all use a little levity these days.

Learn More

Find more information about cloth face masks:

Learn More Ways to Stay Healthy and Cope with COVID-19