COVID-19: Canada Health Officials Now Recommend Non-Medical Masks When Out in Public

Canada’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam is recommending non-medical masks to protect others around you when you are in places where it is difficult to ensure proper physical distancing.

Current recommendations on the Public Health Canada website:

Wearing a non-medical mask is an additional measure you can take to protect others around you. Wearing a non-medical mask is another way to cover your mouth and nose to prevent your respiratory droplets from contaminating others or landing on surfaces.

If wearing a non-medical mask makes you feel safer and stops you from touching your nose and mouth, that is also good. But remember not to touch or rub your eyes.

It is important to understand that non-medical masks have limitations and need to be used safely.

If you choose to use a non-medical face mask:

  • you must wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (in addition to practicing good hand hygiene while wearing it)
  • it should fit well (non-gaping)
  • you should not share it with others

Face masks can become contaminated on the outside, or when touched by your hands.

When wearing a mask, take the following precautions to protect yourself:

  • avoid touching your face mask while using it
  • change a cloth mask as soon as it gets damp or soiled
    • put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine and then disposed of
    • cloth masks can be laundered with other items using a hot cycle, and then dried thoroughly.
  • non-medical masks that cannot be washed should be discarded and replaced as soon as they get damp, soiled or crumpled
    • dispose of masks properly in a lined garbage bin
    • don’t leave discarded masks in shopping carts, on the ground, etc.

HOW TO MAKE CLOTH BASED MASKS

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC has given detailed instructions on how to make cloth-based masks including using sew and non-sew methods.

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