Mask Up - Why You Should Wear a Mask - How to Make a Mask - CARE
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Why You Should Wear a Mask

COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice (e.g., while shouting, chanting, or singing). These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.1

An illustration of a Black woman wearing a facemask. An inset shows a close-up of the woman coughing into the mask and particles being blocked by the fabric.

Masks are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice.2

How to Wear a Mask

  • Wash your hands before putting on your mask
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
  • Don’t put the mask around your neck or up on your forehead
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect others in case you’re infected with COVID-19 but don’t have symptoms
  • Wear a mask in public settings when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when it may be difficult for you to stay six feet apart
  • Wear a mask correctly for maximum protection
  • Don’t touch the mask, and, if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to disinfect3

How to Make a Mask4

No Sew Method

Materials:

  • Bandana, old t-shirt, or square cotton cloth (cut approximately 20”x20”)
  • Rubber bands (or hair ties)
  • Scissors (if you are cutting your own cloth)
1. Fold bandana in half
2. Fold top down and bottom up
3. Place rubber bands or hair ties about 6 inches apart
4. Fold in the sides to the middle
5. Pick up mask by the ties, pulling gently and hook securely over your ears
6. Try it on!

Sewing Machine Method

Materials:

  • Two 10”x6” rectangles of cotton fabric
  • Two 6” pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strips, or hair ties)
  • Needle and thread (or bobby pin)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
1. Cut out two 10-by-6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric. Use tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. T-shirt fabric will work in a pinch. Stack the two rectangles; you will sew the mask as if it was a single piece of fabric.
2. Fold over the long sides 1/4 inch and hem. Then fold the double layer of fabric over 1/2 inch along the short sides and stitch down.
3. Run a 6-inch length of 1/8-inch wide elastic through the wider hem on each side of the mask. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle or a bobby pin to thread it through. Tie the ends tight.

Don't have elastic? Use hair ties or elastic head bands. If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the mask behind your head.
4. Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the mask on the elastic and adjust so the mask fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping.