WASHINGTON, D.C. (KERO) — For those of us still choosing to wear cloth or disposable masks either for comfort reasons or because N-95 respirators may be too costly you may be wondering 'how do I make sure my mask is worn correctly so I have the maximum protection against the coronavirus?'
23ABC took an in-depth look at mask guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has that information for you.
The CDC says to choose a mask with a nose wire, which is a metal strip along the top of the mask. They prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask. Be sure to bend the nose wire over your nose to fit close to your face.
Check that your mask fits snugly over your nose, mouth, and chin. Check for gaps by cupping your hands around the outside edges of the mask and making sure no air is flowing from the area near your eyes or from the sides of the mask. If the mask has a good fit, you will feel warm air coming through the front of the mask and may be able to see the mask material move in and out with each breath.
Use a mask fitter or brace over a disposable mask or a cloth mask to prevent air from leaking around the edges of the mask.
Plus, for more protection, you can add layers of material. Use a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric and wear a disposable mask underneath that cloth mask. Just make sure you can see and breathe easily.
Other things to consider
Certain types of facial hair, like beards, can make mask fitting difficult. People with beards can shave their beards, trim close to the face, use a mask fitter or brace.
You can also use some of the suggestions above, including a brace or multiple layers.
Masks designed for people with beards are being evaluated, and information will be provided when it becomes available.
For more information and mask-wearing tips visit the CDC website.