Iowa Specialty Hospital

Mask Up - When, Why, and How to Wear a Face Mask

Masks or face coverings should be worn in indoor public spaces and anytime in public when you are near others who are not in your immediate household. When you wear a mask, you protect others, and when others wear a mask they protect you. As you continue to practice the courteous acts of hand washing and social distancing, add one more and MASK UP!

While in public, you should use a face mask, scarf, bandana, face shield, or other face covering.  N95 masks should be reserved for healthcare workers only.

Follow these protocols for when, why, and how to wear a face mask or other face covering:


  • While in public, you should use a mask, scarf or other face covering. This includes indoor spaces and outdoor spaces when you are near others who are not in your immediate household.
  • Those with breathing challenges or those under the age of two should not wear a mask.


  • To protect others: When you wear a mask you protect others by preventing the spread of your own germs.
  • Unknown COVID-19 status: You may have COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus without showing symptoms.
  • Protect the community: More people wearing masks results in better protection for everyone.


  • Masks/face coverings should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
  • Masks/face coverings should be secured with ties or ear loops.
  • Masks/face coverings should include multiple layers of fabric.
  • Masks/face coverings should allow for breathing without restriction.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before putting on face covering.
  • Cover both your nose and mouth with your mask/face covering.
  • Avoid a lot of touching/adjusting your mask/face covering.
  • Before removing your mask, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before removing your mask.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, noses, or mouth when removing your mask.
  • Completely remove your mask/face covering while eating.
  • Masks/face coverings made of cloth should be washed and dried after each use and show no damage or change to shape. 
  • Wash in hot water with regular detergent and allow to air dry or dry on a low heat cycle.
  • When your cloth mask is not in use, fold it with the side that goes toward your mouth folded to the inside. Store the mask/face covering in a resealable bag or other clean storage container.



Below are links for how to make a mask including a non-sew option.

CDC Sew and No-Sew Mask Instructions

CDC Face Mask Non-Sew Instruction Video

Face Mask Making Instruction Video

Face Mask Making Without Elastic Instructions



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