MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphians are being told to mask up whenever they’re out in public. But Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Steve Thelkeld says in order to get the best use out of a mask there’s some things people should know.
“Try to get all of the benefits of wearing a mask without any of the possible negatives,” he said.
Threlkeld said research shows that wearing masks helps slow down the spread of COVID-19. But, if people are not handling their masks properly, it could defeat the purpose.
For example, people should not touch the front of their mask when taking it off, because they may end up touching their face or eyes.
"You don't want to contaminate your hands. You want to wash your hands before you take it off. Then you want to remove it by the strings or what's behind the ears and not remove it by touching your face," Threlkeld explained.
Experts also say those making their own mask should use multiple layers.
"It is important that you have multiple layers of the fabric because we don't want the virus getting through a single thin layer of fabric," Threlkeld explained.
Disposable masks should only be used once. Otherwise, Threlkeld said a mask used daily should be washed regularly. People should not wear wet masks.
There have also been questions about whether masks can have an impact on the amount of oxygen people are getting. Threlkeld said it will not. However there are people who should not wear one.
"You don't want to put it on someone under two, someone that might not be able to tell you when they're breathing properly. Of course there's the problem of people with breathing issues. There will be a certain number of people who can't wear them because of asthma or other lung problem and you're doctor may suggest that you not wear a mask," Threlkeld said.
For more guidelines on wearing cloth masks, click here