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Wear a Mask or Respirator
Masking is a critical public health tool for preventing spread of COVID-19, and wearing any mask is better than no mask. Masks provide a barrier that keeps respiratory droplets from spreading.
Wear a mask or respirator and take
every day preventive actions in public settings if you:
- Are over 2 years of age and are not fully vaccinated
- Are in an area
of substantial or high transmission, regardless of vaccination status.
View Oakland County's transmission status.
- Have a weakened immune system
- Are required by laws, rules, regulations, or local guidance
- Are in an area with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
Although no longer required, CDC recommends universal indoor masking on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation as well as for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of their vaccination status or the area's transmission rates.
To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, CDC continues to recommend that you wear the most protective mask you can, that fits well and that you will wear consistently.
Learn about the types of masks.
Masks are made to contain droplets and particles you breathe, cough, or sneeze out. If they fit closely to the face, they can also provide you some protection from particles spread by others, including the virus that causes COVID-19.
Cloth Masks should
- Have multiple layers of tightly woven, breathable fabric that blocks light when held up to bright light source
- Completely cover the nose
- Fit snugly against the sides of the face and not have any gaps
- Have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask
Respirators are made to protect you by filtering the air and fitting closely on the face to filter out particles, including the virus that causes COVID-19. They can also contain droplets and particles you breathe, cough, or sneeze out so you do not spread them to others.
The most widely available respirators that meet an
international standard are KN95 respirators.
About 60% of KN95 respirators NIOSH evaluated during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021
did not meet the requirements that they intended to meet.
- Using a poor-quality product may not provide the level of protection indicated.
- Learn about factors to consider when purchasing an international respirator.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approves many types of filtering facepiece respirators. The most widely available are N95 respirators. Find lists of respirators that are NIOSH-approved at the
NIOSH-Approved Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirators webpage.
- When worn consistently and properly, they provide the highest level of protection from particles, including the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Additionally, they contain your respiratory droplets and particles, so you do not expose others.
- They seal tightly to your face when fitted properly.
- It is important to pick a respirator that fits your face and seals well since not all fit the same.
Respirators approved by NIOSH are evaluated against a specific US standard that includes a quality requirement.
- They filter at least 95% of particles in the air when approved by NIOSH and when you have a proper fit.
- Parents and caregivers may have questions about NIOSH-approved respirators (such as N95s) for children. Although respirators may be available in smaller sizes, they are typically designed to be used by adults in workplaces, and therefore have not been tested for broad use in children.
Masks and respirators should not be worn
- By a child under 2 years of age
- By someone with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, for reasons related to the disability
- In a situation when wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the
workplace risk assessment
For more information
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