With the help of scientists around the world we are increasingly learning more about how the COVID-19 virus spreads. This information along with evidence of widespread community infection in many communities across the United States has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a recommendation for people to wear cloth face coverings to cover their nose and mouth in community settings.
This recommendation is to protect people around you if you are infected with the COVID-19 virus but are not displaying symptoms. The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering if you are in a community setting where you may be near other people such as a grocery store or pharmacy. A cloth face covering does not eliminate the need for social distancing. It is an additional precaution to slow the spread of the virus.
A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but it may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on children younger than 5 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance. Use of medical masks or N95 respirators are by the public discouraged, since they’re a needed resource for health care workers and first responders.
The CDC and the South Texas Regional Advisory Council have both created graphic tutorials for creating cloth face coverings. In addition the South Texas Regional Advisory Council has also created a text tutorial that recommends that cloth face coverings be made from tightly woven, high quality, preshrunk cotton material that can withstand heavy, frequent, high temperature laundering with detergent, and autoclave conditions (steam under pressure).
It is important to remember that cloth face coverings should be laundered under high temperature with detergent prior to initial use. Additionally when removing face coverings individuals should take precautions not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth and should wash their hands immediately after removing. Cloth face coverings should be routinely washed at a high temperature, depending on the frequency of use.