Why Wear a Facemask?
The following is an excerpt from the Public Health Canada website (link listed below) giving guidance on the use of non-Medical face masks:
Wear a non-medical mask or face covering to prevent COVID-19 spread
Strong public health actions are needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
To protect yourself and others, wear a non-medical mask or face covering when:
- you're in public and you might come into close contact with others
- you're in shared indoor spaces with people from outside your immediate household
- advised by your local public health authority
Mandatory use of masks or face coverings
Public health officials make recommendations for wearing masks based on a number of factors. These factors include rates of infection and/or transmission in the community. In some jurisdictions, the use of masks is now mandatory in many indoor public spaces and on public transit. Check with your local public health authority on the requirements for your location.
Proper material, structure and fit
Well-designed and well-fitting masks or face coverings can prevent the spread of your infectious respiratory droplets. They may also help protect you from the infectious respiratory droplets of others.
How well a mask or face covering works depends on the materials used, how the mask is made, and most importantly, how well it fits.
A mask or face covering can be homemade or purchased, and should:
- be made of at least 3 layers
- 2 layers should be tightly woven material fabric, such as cotton or linen
- the third (middle) layer should be a filter-type fabric, such as non-woven polypropylene fabric
- be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose, mouth and chin without gaping
- allow for easy breathing
- fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops
- be comfortable and not require frequent adjustments
- be changed as soon as possible if damp or dirty
- maintain its shape after washing and drying
Filters add an extra layer of protection against COVID-19 by trapping small infectious particles. Consider wearing a mask that includes a filter or filter material as one of its layers, such as:
- non-woven polypropylene fabric, which can be found as:
- a craft fabric
- the non-woven fabric that's used to make some reusable shopping bags
- a disposable filter inserted into a pocket on the mask
Reusable masks with a non-woven filter layer should be washed daily, and can be washed multiple times. Disposable filters should be changed daily or as directed by the manufacturer.
People at higher risk of exposure and more severe illness
If you're at higher risk of more severe illness if you get COVID-19 or exposure to COVID-19 because of your work or living situation, you should wear a non-medical mask or face covering that includes a layer of filter fabric or a replaceable filter.
Consider wearing a medical mask if one is available to you.
Medical masks are face coverings that make medical claims of reducing or preventing COVID-19 for the user. They're regulated as Class I medical devices.
Children and masks
Children under the age of 2 should not wear masks or face coverings.
Between the ages of 2 and 5, children may be able to wear a mask if supervised. This will depend on their ability to tolerate it as well as put it on and take it off.
Children older than 5 should wear one in situations or settings where they're recommended.