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Choosing the Right Mask

What To Consider in A Face Mask

A face mask should ideally have at least 2 layers of tightly woven

material fabric. This could include cotton or linen. Having a middle layer with a filter is even better. Some masks may have a third layer or a pocket for a paper towel, clean baby wipe, or fabric filter. You also may make a mask using a t-shirt or a bandana. Avoid masks made from plastic or non-breathable materials.



When choosing a mask, consider breathability, fit and whether it will keep its shape when you wash it.



The fit of your mask is really important. A study published by the Centers for Disease Control in February found that wearing a tightly fitted mask could reduce exposure to aerosols by about 95%. The study suggests a few ways to achieve a tighter fit for your mask. One is called “double masking.” This means wearing a disposable medical procedure or “surgical” mask underneath a cloth mask. Another option is to knot the ear loops of your disposable surgical mask and tuck in any extra material.

When To Wear A Face Mask

Masks or facial coverings are now mandatory indoors in many parts of Canada. Check for updates from your provincial and local public health authorities.


Wearing a homemade non-medical mask or facial covering is important when you’re in shared spaces with people you don’t live with, according to the Government of Canada. Shared spaces include stores, parks, backyards, shopping areas and public transportation.

When To Wear A Face Mask

Masks aren’t recommended for everyone. The Government of Canada doesn’t

recommend masks for:

  • Children under two years old.

  • People with breathing problems.

  • People living with a condition that makes it hard to put on or take off a mask.


People with hearing loss may choose to wear a clear mask. Alternatively, the

Government of Canada suggests standing at least two metres away from someone if you’re reading their lips.

Where To Buy A Face Mask

Many major clothing chains and independent small businesses are selling masks. A quick search online will bring up options for home delivery at various price points.

Adapted from: Emily Gilbert (Lumino Health)

Wearing Instructions

1. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before putting your mask on.

2. Cover your mouth AND your nose with the mask. Eliminate gaps between the mask and your face.

3. Don’t touch the front of your mask while you wear it. If you do accidentally touch it, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.

When you are taking off your mask, remove the elastic loops from around your ears (or untie the string from around your head). Only touch the loops or strings to dispose of it. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after removing it.


If your mask is reusable, wash it in the washing machine using a hot cycle before using it again. Masks should be comfortable and do not need frequent adjustment.


Change your mask as soon as you can if it becomes damp or dirty. Health Canada also

specifies not to share your mask with others.


Remember that a homemade mask is not a medical device. They have not undergone

testing to meet recognized standards. They don’t provide complete protection from virus particles.

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