When and how to use face masks in home and community settings.
Who Should Wear Face Masks During a Swine Flu Pandemic?
Wear a face mask (consider using an N95 respirator) if you must come into close contact with a sick person. "Close contact" means within 6 feet.
Wear an N95 respirator if helping a sick person with a nebulizer, inhaler, or other respiratory treatment.
If you've got the flu, wear a face mask before going near other people.
If you've got the flu and must leave home -- to see the doctor, for example -- wear a face mask.
If you are well, but live in a household with someone who has the flu, wear a face mask before going near other people. Why? You may be infected with the flu bug but don't yet have symptoms.
If swine flu is widespread in your community, you may consider wearing a face mask when in crowded settings.
How to Use a Face Mask During a Swine Flu Pandemic
Don't rely on a face mask as your only protection. Avoid crowds, avoid close contact with sick people, and wash your hands often -- even if you wear a mask. And to protect others if you're sick, observe cough/sneeze etiquette and stay home.
Before putting on a face mask, wash your hands thoroughly.
Don't touch the outside of the face mask while you're wearing it or when you take it off.
Use disposable face masks only once, then -- holding them by the bands or ties, not the front of the mask -- throw them in the trash. Don't let the used mask touch anything else.
After taking off a face mask, wash your hands thoroughly.
Before reusing a fabric face mask (note that these are NOT approved by the FDA), wash it in normal laundry detergent and tumble dry in a hot dryer.