If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, stay safe by taking some simple precautions, such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, keeping rooms well ventilated, avoiding crowds, cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue. Check local advice where you live and work. Do it all!
Make wearing a mask a normal part of being around other people.
Masks should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy of measures to suppress transmission and save lives; the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to provide an adequate level of protection against COVID-19
Here are the basics of how to wear a mask:
- Clean your hands before you put your mask on, as well as before and after you take it off.
- Make sure it covers both your nose, mouth and chin.
Here are some specifics on what type of mask to wear and when, depending on how much virus is circulating where you live, where you go and who you are.
- Wear a fabric mask unless you’re in a particular risk group. This is especially important when you can’t stay physically distanced, particularly in crowded and poorly ventilated indoor settings.
- Wear a medical/surgical mask if you:
- Are over 60,
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Are feeling unwell, and/or
- Are looking after an ill family member.
For more public advice on masks, read our Q&A and watch our videos. There is also a Q&A focused on masks and children.
For health workers, medical masks are essential personal protective equipment when engaging with patients with suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19. Respirator masks (such as FFP2, FFP3, N95, N99) should be used in settings where procedures generating aerosols are performed and must be fitted to ensure the right size is worn.
Find out more about the science of how COVID-19 infects people and our bodies react by watching or reading this interview.