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How to Properly Wear A Face Mask and Why?

Health & Wellness

Wearing a mask slows the spread

We now know from recent studies that many people with coronavirus don’t have any symptoms and that even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. That means the virus can spread between people who are close to each other when speaking, coughing, or sneezing, even if they aren’t showing coronavirus symptoms.

Because of that, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies.

Many state governments now require you to wear face masks in public areas and going into stores, physician offices, salons, restaurants and etc. to protect you and those you come into contact with.

What if I want to take my chances with catching COVID-19?

Even if you feel this way, think about other people around you. It's often difficult to tell just by looking at someone whether they're in a high-risk group, such as people with high blood pressure, have cancer or diabetes. No one wants to accidentally spread the virus to someone who might have severe complications if they catch it. If you wear a mask and practice social distancing when out in public, you can feel good about knowing you are part of your community's effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

How to put on and take off your face mask to avoid the spread of germs

Now that face masks are a wardrobe staple and becoming a fashion accessory with all the designs, it is important to know the proper way to take them on and off to avoid the spread of germs! Be sure to follow the instructions below from the CDC depending on if your face covering is cloth or disposable.

Cloth Face Coverings:

To put the mask on:

  • Wash your hands before putting on your face covering.
  • Place the covering over your nose and mouth, securing it under your chin. Adjust it to fit snugly against the sides of your face, making sure you can breathe easily.

To take it off:

  • Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops. Be sure to handle only by the string ties or ear loops.
  • Fold the outside corners together.
  • Place the covering in the washing machine.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water

Disposable Face Coverings:

To put the mask on:

  • Wash your hands before touching the mask.
  • The side with a stiff, bendable edge is the top. The front (colored side) should face away from you. Hold the mask by the ear loops, placing a loop over each ear. Pinch the stiff edge to the shape of your nose. Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.

To take it off:

  • Wash your hands before removing the mask.
  • Avoid touching the front of the mask, as it is contaminated. Hold both ear loops and gently lift and remove the mask.
  • Throw the mask into the trash.
  • Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.


As a reminder, we urge anyone with fever, cough and shortness of breath to call your provider first. We have testing available for COVID-19 & Antibody testing 7 days a week at our GW Immediate & Primary Care sites and also weekdays at our Ambulatory Care Center at 22nd & I St., NW. For more information click here.