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Cleveland Clinic: All of your most-pressing mask questions answered

Not sure when you need to mask up? Maybe you aren't sure how to properly clean your face covering? We've got you covered.

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previously published, related story.

As guidelines surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continue to change as new information arises, many find themselves confused when it comes to whether or not they need to wear a mask and in what situations.  

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That's why, we at 3News, have put together this quick guide with answers from the CDC and Cleveland Clinic for you to easily find the help that you are looking for when it comes to face coverings and masks. 

WHO SHOULD WEAR A MASK?

  • Anyone over the age of two. 

WHO SHOULDN'T WEAR A MASK? 

  • Children two years and younger
  • Those who have trouble breathing
  • Anyone who is unconscious or unable to remove a mask without help

WHAT TYPES OF MASKS ARE BEST?

Trying to figure out what mask is best? Don't worry, you have several options! Here are the face coverings that are recommended by experts: 

  • Non-medical disposable masks
  • Masks that fit properly over both the nose and mouth
  • Masks made with breathable fabric
  • Masks with tightly woven fabric
  • Masks with several layers
  • Masks with inner filter pockets.

HOW DO I WEAR A FACE MASK PROPERLY?

According to the CDC, for a face mask to be worn properly, several boxes must be checked. The face-covering must: 

  • Cover both your nose and your mouth
  • Not leave major gaps around the sides of the face
  • Still allow you to breathe without restriction
  • Be securely fastened by loops or ties

WHEN SHOULD I WEAR A MASK?

According to the CDC, due to rising COVID-19 cases around the country, it is suggested that all adults, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear a mask or face covering while out in public. The CDC also recommends that masks be worn when around others who do not live in the same home, or if you are in contact with someone who has COVID-19, or if you yourself have the virus or suspect you may have the virus. 

HOW SHOULD I TAKE OFF MY MASK?

Experts say that the best way to take off a face mask is to grab it by the ear loops to ties, rather than to touch the fabric at the front of your face. This method will help to stop any possible contamination. You should also wash your hands before and after handling your face mask. 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I WASH MY FACE MASK?

Health experts recommend that you wash your face mask after every use. Prolonged use of the same mask without washes may cause sore throats and esophageal irritation. 

HOW DO I WASH MY FACE MASK?

Reusable masks can be thrown into a washing machine with other clothing. Experts recommend using warm water and regular detergent. 

HOW SHOULD I CLEAN MY MASK IF I DON'T HAVE A WASHER?

 Experts say that you can clean your face masks at home if you don't have access to a washer. There are a few things you will need: 

  • Bleach with 5.25% to 8.25% sodium hypochlorite
  • Room temperature water 

Here's how to clean it: 

  1. Mix five (5) tablespoons of bleach per gallon of room temperature water together 
  2. Submerge your masks in the water 
  3. Leave the masks/face coverings in the mixture for five minutes 
  4. Once the time is up, pour the bleach solution down the drain and rinse the masks with cool water
  5. Let your mask dry completely before reusing

HOW SHOULD I DRY MY MASK? 

The CDC says that you can either air out your mask in a dryer or let it air dry.

I DON'T HAVE REUSABLE CLOTH MASKS, HOW OFTEN SHOULD I USE MY MEDICAL MASK?  

Experts recommend getting rid of your non-cloth masks after one use.

HOW CAN I STOP MY GLASSES FROM FOGGING UP WHILE WEARING A MASK? 

If you find yourself dealing with fogged glasses while wearing a mask out in public, don't fret, there are several things you can do! 

  • Make sure the mask fits properly on your nose. Experts say that masks with a nose bridge can really help any fogging.
  • You can also wash your glasses with soapy water! The soap helps to act as a barrier against the fog

I TEND TO GET "MASK-NE" AFTER WEARING A FACE-COVERING! HOW CAN I STOP THE BREAKOUTS? 

Dermatologists recommend several different options for those who tend to find pimples, bumps, and rashes after wearing a mask:

  • Try washing your face with a dandruff shampoo. Shampoos like Head and Shoulders have ketoconazole or selenium sulfide, which help calm the skin and get rid of excess yeast buildup in pores. 
  • Use a good foaming cleanser that has salicylic acid
  • Make sure your masks are clean. Dirty masks can contribute to a poor environment for the skin

HOW CAN I STAY COOL IF I NEED TO WEAR A MASK FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME? 

Mask-fatigue can be real! That's why, if you have to wear a mask at work or even when working out, doctors have tips for how to keep cool! 

  • Use masks that have good breathability: if you find that certain fabrics or masks make it much more difficult for you to breathe, find ones that fit well and work for you! Having the right mask can not only make it more comfortable, but it can also decrease stress
  • Always keep extra masks with you: sometimes sweat, makeup, and just general day-use can buildup under the mask. Experts say that it's a good rule of thumb to always have a few extra coverings on hand in case you need to switch out throughout the day
  • Drink lots of water and stay hydrated: If you find yourself overheating in a mask, make sure you are drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated in general 
  • Give yourself a break: Take some time to just get out of the mask! Experts say it's completely fine to take it off for a few minutes, but say you should always head somewhere where other people are not around and to still follow proper protocols when it comes to removing the mask

HOW DO I GET MY CHILD TO WEAR A MASK?

Since masks are recommended for children over the age of two, many kids find themselves wearing masks at school, during sports, and in many other situations. Emily Mudd, PhD, says there are many ways you can help your child to understand the importance of wearing a mask, while still making it something fun: 

“To improve the success of your child wearing a mask in public, it helps to desensitize them at home. Engage your child in the process — give them a mask that they can decorate, which will increase the chance they will wear it. Purchase a neutral-colored mask, and let your child decorate it however they wish — with drawing, glitter, stickers, or anything they like. You can even sew the mask together as a team, or make a mask that you don’t have to sew. You can make masks out of T-shirts, bandanas, or other materials that you already have at home if your child doesn’t want to wear a traditional mask. Make it fun!”

WHY DO I NEED TO WEAR A MASK?

The virus can be easily spread through respiratory droplets or small particles that come from coughs, sneezes, or anytime a person talks or breathes. Scientists and health experts say that with COVID-19 variants on the rise, it's important to continue to mask up in order to protect both yourself and others around you.  

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