More and more people are wearing face masks when they leave their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic. At first, this was not an official recommendation, but that stance has changed and since older adults are at greater risk of developing Covid-19 it makes sense to wear cloth face masks.
The CDC Is Now Recommending Cloth Face Masks
The CDC has reversed its original recommendation regarding face masks. The recommendation going forward is that it’s a good practice to wear a cloth face mask whenever your senior has to go out in public or has to be around other people. This does not replace social distancing at all but is an added precaution to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Wearing a face mask is also a tangible reminder for your senior to not touch her face.
What Do Cloth Masks Do?
Cloth face masks serve as a barrier between your senior and other people, particularly her nose and mouth. They’re a useful way to both contain her own germs if she’s sick and to reduce the likelihood of her picking up other people’s germs. They are not foolproof, however. Cloth face masks need to be washed often and your senior should never touch the outside of the mask and then touch her mouth, nose, or eyes. She also still needs to wash her hands often.
Cleaning Cloth Masks Is Vital
The most important part of using cloth face masks is cleaning them properly. This helps to ensure that your senior has a clean mask ready to go. The best way to clean cloth face masks is to wash them in the washing machine with regular detergent and water. Either hot or cold water is fine, because the concept is the same as hand washing. The idea is to break down the outer layer of the virus with the soap itself. Dry the masks on high heat and they should be ready to go.
Clean Masks After Each Use
Every time that your senior is ready to take her mask off, such as when she returns home from the grocery store, she should remove her mask and put it in the washing machine. Immediately after touching the mask itself, your senior needs to wash her hands thoroughly with soap and water. This helps to ensure that she isn’t at risk from any possible germs that were on the mask.
Keeping up with extra loads of laundry may not be something your senior feels able to do right now and that’s completely understandable. Home care providers can offer your senior help with making sure she’s wearing her cloth face masks correctly and that she has clean ones ready to go whenever she needs them.