There is a lot of conflicting information out on the internet. Therefore I will only provide the approved CDC letter at this time.
CDC Guide to Masks
Updated Aug. 13, 2021
- If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
- In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
- People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
- If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
- If you are fully vaccinated, see When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated.
Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus).
When selecting a mask, there are many choices. Here are some do’s and don’ts.
DO choose masks that
- Have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
- Completely cover your nose and mouth
- Fit snugly against the sides of your face and don’t have gaps
- Have a nose wire toprevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask
Wear a gaiter with two layers, or fold it to make two layers
Gaiters & face shields
DO NOT choose masks that
Are made of fabric that makes it hard to breathe, for example, vinyl
Have exhalation valves or vents which allow virus particles to escape
Are prioritized for healthcare workers (e.g., N95 respirators labeled as “surgical” or “medical”)
Not recommended: Evaluation of face shields is ongoing, but effectiveness is unknown at this time.
Find a mask that is made for children to help ensure proper fit
Check to be sure the mask fits snugly over the nose and mouth and under the chin and that there are no gaps around the sides
Do NOT put on children younger than 2 years old
People with beards
Certain types of facial hair, like beards, can make mask fitting difficult. Masks that fit well protect you better. To have a better fit, people with beards can shave their beards or trim their beards close to the face.
Other ways to improve fit
Use a mask fitter or brace.
Wear one disposable mask underneath a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric. The second mask should push the edges of the inner mask against the face and beard.
For people with beards that are not trimmed close to the face, masks may fit loosely around the beard. However, people with beards should still wear a mask. Masks designed for people with beards are being evaluated, and information will be provided when it becomes available.
Wearing a mask does not raise the carbon dioxide (CO2) level in the air you breathe
Cloth masks and surgical masks do not provide an airtight fit across the face. The CO2 escapes into the air through the mask when you breathe out or talk. CO2 molecules are small enough to easily pass through mask material. In contrast, the respiratory droplets that carry the virus that causes COVID-19 are much larger than CO2, so they cannot pass as easily through a properly designed and properly worn mask.
How to Wear
Wear a mask correctly and consistently for the best protection.
- Be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before putting on a mask.
- Do NOTtouch the mask when wearing it. If you have to often touch/adjust your mask, it doesn’t fit you properly, and you may need to find a different mask or make adjustments.
Do wear a mask that
- Covers your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
- Fits snugly against the sides of your face.