Face Covering Facts

We all know that people spread respiratory droplets by coughing and sneezing. But did you know that we also spread respiratory droplets by talking, laughing, and singing? These respiratory droplets are why the Oregon Health Authority strongly recommends that Oregonians wear cloth face coverings and why face coverings are required in many public settings.

Know the Facts

Fact: We wear face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Face coverings help us keep our respiratory droplets to ourselves, which means people who wear them prevent spreading the virus to others. (1) (2) There are many types of face coverings, scarves, bandanas, and homemade coverings with loops that go over the ears.

Fact: Face coverings don’t cause dangerous carbon dioxide to build up.

Face coverings don’t cause enough carbon dioxide build-up to cause ill effects in otherwise healthy people. (3) In fact, masks have a tighter seal than face coverings, and farm workers, custodial staff, and hospital employees all wear them to stay safe in their workplaces.

Remember, though, that the following people should not wear face coverings:

Children under age 2 years

Anyone who has a medical condition that makes it hard to breathe when wearing a face covering.

Anyone who has a disability that prevents the individual from wearing a face covering.

Fact: Cloth face coverings do not increase your risk of infection when used properly in public settings.

We wear cloth face coverings to help protect other people in case we have the virus—but no, wearing a cloth face covering doesn’t raise your risk of infection. (4) (2) Be sure to wash your hands before and after touching your face covering and wash it daily.

Fact: Face coverings do not cause the virus to “reactivate.”

Once you have a viral infection, wearing a face covering does not make it worse or make it last longer. It does, however, help you keep from spreading or passing it on it to others. (5)

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