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“Do I need to wear a mask? Can I make my own?” What the experts are saying

Chances are, if you've been to the grocery store or pharmacy shopping for essentials recently, you've noticed that many people have started wearing masks when out in public. While masks have shown promise in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses, there seems to be so much conflicting information about who should be wearing them. Here, Girls' Life gives you the important info you need to make an informed decision about masks:

Do I have to wear a mask?
On Friday, April 3, the Center for Disease Control updated its recommendations, saying that Americans, especially those in hot-spot areas with high COVID-19 infection rates, should wear a cloth face mask whenever leaving the house for the time being. This isn't a law and you won't be punished if you choose not to wear one—instead, it's a guideline that is meant to slow the spread of the virus. That said, since hospitals are in critical need of N95 masks, the standard used in the medical field, that means that the general public should look to alternatives. 

Should I make my own mask?
There are tutorials to help you make your own mask—this one from The New York Times guides you through the process—but it's important to be careful. Sit down with a parent to make sure you're following the steps closely. You can also use a bandana or scarf to cover your face in public. Before you do that, though, make sure to read our next recommendation...

Masks do not equal zero transmission
Many experts echo the same concern when the mask debate comes up: They worry that wearing a mask will lead to a false sense of security, and that people will relax their social-distancing practices because they feel safe with a mask on. It's crucial to recognize that while masks can help, they should be worn in addition to all other protocols. You should still stay home unless going out for essential items, and you should still maintain at least a 6-foot distance between yourself and any other individual that does not live in your home. 

Have you been wearing a mask? Let us know in the comments.

by Jacqueline F. | 4/3/2020