Health Advice



How to wear a nonmedical mask safely and effectively

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In the 1994 Jim Carrey movie "The Mask," Carrey's character, mild-mannered bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss, is transformed into a hyper-hyped-up superhero when he dons a vivid green mask. Fortunately, wearing a protective nonmedical mask doesn't make you manic, but it does make you a hero. That's because it reinforces the benefits of social distancing and helps you protect yourself, your loved ones, your neighbors and the country from the spread of COVID-19.

But it is vital that you know how to use your cloth mask so it is not a potential source of transmission of the virus.

1. Use a high thread count fabric. It should be tight across your chin, nose and cheeks, but NOT touching your lips. If it touches your lips and virus droplets permeate the mask, they can enter your mouth. And vice versa, if you are infected (but maybe don't know it) your moist lips can transfer the virus to the outer side of the mask and out into the air.

2. Do not touch the mask with your hands.

3. Wash it after every use. (Have a backup.) Remove with the ear straps and place directly into the washing machine. Then, wash your hands well. You can also put it in an air-tight plastic bag for 72 hours -- that is the time it takes the virus to die.

For instructions on making a mask by sewing one, cutting it out of a T-shirt or using a bandana, go to and search for "DIY cloth face coverings."



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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