Should I wear a medical mask or a cloth mask/face cover?

Face coverings can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others, but only if they are worn and cared for correctly. The type of mask you choose isn’t nearly as important as when, where and how you wear it. It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that you wear a mask in public spaces, where social distancing isn’t easy to maintain – such as retail stores, pharmacies, workplaces and the like.

  • Face coverings are meant to protect other people from illness, in case you are infected.
  • Face masks should cover the mouth and nose, allow for breathing without restriction and allow for clear vision.
  • Secure the mask to your face using ties or straps around the ears.
  • View the CDC website for a template on making a cloth face covering.
  • Do not place masks on children ages 2 or younger, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unable to remove the mask themselves without assistance.
  • DO NOT use a medical mask intended for a healthcare worker. Surgical masks and N-95 respirators are in short supply, and these products must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers, first responders and others as recommended by CDC guidelines.

Wearing a face mask is only part of a toolkit to prevent the spread of illness in our community. Practicing social distancing, washing hands and following additional prevention recommendations are all important parts of the process.

Show All Answers

1. What is Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and what are common symptoms?
2. How does COVID-19 spread?
3. Should I be concerned about COVID-19?
4. How can I protect myself from COVID-19?
5. Should I wear a medical mask or a cloth mask/face cover?
6. What does it mean to be asymptomatic?
7. What is Community Spread?
8. What are the similarities and differences between COVID-19, Influenza and the Common Cold?
9. What is contact tracing, and why is it important?
10. What information is needed for contact tracing?
11. What can I use to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces?
12. Are there recommendations for dental services during COVID-19?
13. My question was not listed among these FAQs. Where can I go for additional information?