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Masks: They Are Really Important to Protect You and Your Family

Thursday May 14, 2020

Guidance on Mask Use

Yes, we admit it; early on in the COVID-19 crisis the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency (BHSJCHA) published information that masks were not necessary for healthy people.

But as with everything in the COVID-19 crisis, things have changed rapidly and BHSJCHA changed our recommendation on masks several weeks ago. “We now recognize that masks are critically important in providing protection to both the user and others around them in helping minimize transmission of COVID-19,” says Rebecca Burns, Health Officer. “However, anyone who is sick or exhibiting flu-like symptoms should not leave their home for work, errands, etc, even wearing a mask.”

Read on to find information about mask use for you and your family.

The CDC states that cloth face coverings should:

Contact: Rebecca Burns, Health Officer 517-279-9561 ext. 148 H. Lauren Vogel, DO, Medical Director 260-316-6222

As far as when to use a cloth face covering, the CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (for example, grocery stores, pharmacies, home stores). A cloth face mask is used to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. The use of masks is most effective when everyone wears them and remains at least 6 ft away from one another.

Almost all individuals can wear a mask and should, but children under 2 years of age and anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance, should not.

A cloth face covering is easy to keep clean by machine washing and drying. It should be washed routinely depending on the frequency of use and stored in a clean container or bag. When removing a cloth face covering, an individual should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth and wash their hands immediately after removing it.

Don’t share your mask with others unless it is washed and dried first. You should be the only person handling your mask.

You don’t need to have a sewing machine or know how to sew to make a cloth face covering. Here are some easy ways to make one from the CDC’s website: