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CDC recommends various ways to make, wear face masks

CODY — The Centers for Disease Control is now recommending people cover their faces with cloth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With so many materials and fabrics existing, it can feel a little overwhelming to know what to use and not to use.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain like grocery stores and pharmacies.

The biggest purpose is to prevent asymptomatic victims of the virus from transferring it to others.

Items that can be used include T-shirts, bandanas, coffee filters, vacuum cleaner bags, pillowcases and fabric similar to flannel pajamas. As long as breathability can be continued, don’t be afraid to double or even triple the layers.

One of the most common methods is the t-shirt.

Fold the shirt towards the middle from the top on each end twice. Then place a rubber band on each end and fold those ends toward the middle of the shirt. Apply the covering to your face by extending the rubber bands around your ears.

Those who know how to sew, or are lucky enough to know a quilter, should ask them for a mask.

One concern about what material you choose for your mask should be what not only keeps germs out, but also keeps them from coming in.

In recent tests, furnace filters scored well, as did vacuum cleaner bags, layers of 600-count pillowcases and fabric similar to flannel pajamas.

Masks that use high-count fabrics can work as well as surgical masks, but those with thinner counts are nearly ineffective.

Scarves and bandanna material had the lowest scores but still captured a small percentage of particles.

A simple light test can help determine if a fabric will serve its intended purpose.

Hold the fabric up to a bright light. If light passes easily through the fibers and you can almost see the fibers, the fabric will do little to protect you.

Dr. Yang Wang of the Missouri University of Science and Technology found that an allergy-reduction HVAC filter captured 89% of particles with one layer and 94% with two layers. A furnace filter captured 75% with two layers but required six layers to achieve 95%.

It’s important to scrutinize whichever materials you put over your face to make sure they are not risky to inhale.

Masks should be washed regularly, and hands washed before and after taking it off.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under two-years old or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

A variety of sew and no-sew mask-making instructions are available at

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