The Centers for Disease Control is now recommending that people wear cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
We don’t need to wear these all the time, but they may help in places such as grocery stores and pharmacies where other social distancing measures are hard to maintain, the CDC advises.
Extra caution is especially important in “areas of significant community-based transmission,” the CDC says.
The face masks experts are suggesting aren’t surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are vital supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders on the front lines of the pandemic.
Homemade masks are easy to make, even without any sewing.
Dr. Jerome Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General, demonstrates in a CDC video how to make a no-sew face mask out of things you already have at home.
For people with a sewing machine and some skill, there are detailed instructions on the CDC website.
The masks should fit “snugly but comfortably against the side of the face” and should have multiple layers of machine-washable fabric.
When taking the mask off, the wearer should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose or mouth, and should wash hands right away. The mask should be machine-washed and -dried like any other household laundry.