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How to Clean Your Face Mask & Wear It Correctly


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Health officials are pushing hard to make sure everyone masks up as Utah deals with a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Leaders from Utah’s biggest hospitals said Friday that Utahns must wear face masks or the state will face a medical disaster as daily increases in the coronavirus set records.

Gov. Gary Herbert has not issued a statewide order to mandate wearing masks in public, but he did order all students and staff to wear masks when kids go back to school in the next few weeks.

When it comes to protecting her two children, Tori Pratt said she will do anything, which includes making them wear face masks.

“I thought they would hate it but they have actually done really well with it. They haven’t had any issues,” she said after loading up the kids in her minivan.

In an effort to help others, Pratt has no problem sending her kids to school with a mask.

“It’ll be interesting to see if they can last with it,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control said masks are not worn to protect yourself, but are there to protect others if you are carrying the virus.

Kathleen Boynton, a physician at the University of Utah, said filter masks are great but are not needed unless you are high risk. “These are very doable,” she said tugging on her cloth face mask. “These masks are adequate for the average situation.”

If masks are going to work, it’s important to be sure you are wearing them correctly.

Here’s how to be sure:

Before putting on your face mask, the CDC says you need to wash or disinfect your hands.

Then, take your mask by the ear loops and pull it onto your face. Adjust it so it fits snugly over your mouth and nose. If yours has a little metal wire in the nose, pinch it so it’s tight, but comfortable across the bridge of your nose.

It’s important that you do not touch the outside of the face mask while you’re wearing it. If you have to adjust it, wash your hands afterward.

The CDC says take it off if you need to, don’t pull it up or down on your face.

To take it off, handle it by the ear loops. Again, don’t touch the mask itself, because that’s where all the germs you’re trying to keep away from you and others could be.

Then wash your hands.

The CDC says cloth face masks should be washed after every use. You can toss it in the washer and dryer and wash with normal detergent and hot water.

If you wash by hand, the CDC says to soak the mask in a solution of four teaspoons bleach per quart of room temperature water and then lay it flat to dry — preferably in the sun.

If you need to reuse your mask before you can wash it, the Mayo Clinic says you can fold the mask so it’s inside out and slip it in a clean paper bag, not in your pocket or purse.

Wash your hands again.

Wash your face mask at least daily.

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