Wearing a mask is a simple way to stop COVID-19 from spreading. When you wear a mask at the right times and take other important actions, you help protect yourself and the people around you. You also set a good example for others.
Masks work to stop COVID-19 and other diseases from spreading because they:
Masks work best when you also take other actions. These include:
When everyone does these things, it helps everyone stay safe.
A clean non-medical mask or a medical mask that fits snuggly over your mouth, nose, and chin is fine for most places. Do not wear a mask with an exhalation valve (a spot that opens when you breathe out), because droplets go out through the valve and can spread germs.
A non-medical mask can be either disposable (you throw it in the garbage after using it) or reusable. If your reusable mask is homemade, it’s best if it has 3 layers, including a filter layer.
Your mask should:
To put on your mask:
To take off your mask:
For reusable masks, it’s a good idea carry a bag to safely store used masks until you can wash them at home. Also, carry a bag that has a few clean masks in it. Always clean your hands after taking off your reusable mask and before you take a clean mask from the bag.
Follow the washing and drying instructions for reusable masks. If there are no instructions, wash reusable masks in the washing machine or by hand with soap and water. You can dry them in the dryer or let them air dry. Reusable masks should keep their shape after washing and drying.
If your mask gets damp or dirty, clean your hands and put on a new one. Wear a new mask at least every day.
AHS facilities (such as hospitals) will give you a new medical mask to wear because this is an AHS policy.
Your glasses can fog up when the warm air you breathe comes out the top of the mask and steams up the lenses. Try these tips to stop your glasses from fogging up:
Most people are able to wear a mask, but some people can’t wear a mask for medical reasons. Masks are also not recommended for children who are younger than 2 years old.
If you can’t wear a mask, it’s best to stay away from public places because not wearing a mask can put other people at risk. If you need urgent medical care, you will get the care you need. If possible, tell your doctor or the healthcare facility before you visit that you can’t wear a mask. You may need to go to a private room or separate space when you arrive.
To learn more about wearing non-medical masks to help stop COVID-19 from spreading, see Alberta Health’s
COVID-19: Mask Requirements.
For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.
Current as of: November 30, 2020
Author: Infection Prevention & Control, Alberta Health Services
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