Homemade cloth masks have not been proven to protect the person wearing them from COVID-19, and they are not a substitute for physical distancing and good hand hygiene. However:
- Masks do cover the mouth and nose, and may help protect others if you are sick, by preventing respiratory droplets from contaminating people and surfaces around you.
- Wearing masks can also reduce spread from those who are infected with the virus but do not know it.
- Wearing a mask may help if you find yourself in a place where you cannot distance yourself from others.
The most important steps you can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are to wash your hands, stay home (especially when sick), and keep 2 metres away from others when out for essential supplies.
When wearing a mask:
- Continue to practice physical distancing and hand washing.
- Wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off.
- Do not touch your face while using it.
- Do not share it with others.
- With a cloth mask, change it as soon as it gets damp or soiled by putting it directly into the washing machine or a plastic bag that can be emptied into the washing machine and then thrown out.
- Wash cloth masks using a hot cycle and then dry it thoroughly.
- Do not embroider or add bead work, as this will poke large holes in the cloth.
If you wear a non-medical mask, please note that it can become a source of infection when damp or wet. Disposable masks should be discarded after each use. Assume that any mask is contaminated after you wear it.