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Here's what you need to know about personal safety masks

NV medical experts urge use of face coverings
Woman starts Operation Come Together to sew cloth masks for those in need during pandemic
Posted at 6:20 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 00:36:08-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Nevada Medical Advisory Team recommends Nevadans to utilize some sort of face coverings as a precautionary measure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Face coverings can be used to provide additional protections to Nevadans who need to leave their homes. Still, there are no substitutes for handwashing and aggressive social distancing, according to the team.

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Even while using an improvised face covering, continue to take the same precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as if you were not wearing a homemade cover.

“While there is no consensus if masks can reduce individuals’ risks for contracting COVID-19, it is well established that even improvised, homemade face coverings can control and reduce the spread of the virus from infected individuals,” said Ihsan Azzam, the state’s chief medical officer.

N95, surgical and other FDA-regulated masks are in limited supply and must be conserved for medical professionals who are on the frontlines fighting this invisible enemy, according to the experts on the MAT.

Due to the shortage of these masks nationwide, it is strongly recommended that usage be prioritized for healthcare providers, first responders, and other essential employees interfacing with potential patients and the general public.

The team also said under Gov. Sisolak’s Stay at Home Directive, Nevadans should only leave their homes to purchase essential goods and services or to enjoy the fresh air in their own neighborhoods and must avoid large public gatherings.

Nevadans who do leave their homes for essential work or services should abide by aggressive social distancing protocols.

Experts shared a few guidelines for face coverings:

- When creating an improvised face covering, make sure it fits snugly around the nose and mouth, from the nose to the chin, and all the way to the cheeks past the corners of your mouth. There should be no openings.

- Use breathable, but tightly woven fabric.

- The material should be washable, so you can reuse the face covering. You’ll want to wash it thoroughly after use.

- Tough fabric is the best. When you wash it, you’ll want to use high temperatures and a cleaning product – preferably bleach – so the material will need to hold up.

- You’re going to be breathing through the material, so it should be able to handle the amount of moisture you produce when breathing.

- Make sure it’s securely fastened behind your ears. Elastic typically works, especially when it’s looped behind the ears.

- The face covering should always be properly put on and taken off to avoid self-contamination – avoid touching the front of the face covering.

- Change out your face covering and wash it when it becomes saturated from breathing into it, or if you think you might have been in a contaminated situation

- Don’t share! Even with members of your household! Keep them separated, clearly labeled, and in separate containers.

More information on the Nevada Medical Advisory Team is also available here.