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Here’s how to properly wear and clean your face mask

(AP Photo/Ron Harris)

PHOENIX — A Valley nurse is encouraging everyone who can to wear a face mask when they’re out in public and is providing tips on how to put on and remove it properly.

“It’s just so important to wear them right now,” said Colleen Wilson, an HonorHealth nurse who’s certified in infection prevention.

Wilson said she’s concerned about the recent spike in coronavirus cases in Arizona and believes wearing masks is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the disease.

“You can start spreading the virus days before you become symptomatic, so you could be putting others at risk and not realize you are,” she said.

Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, in an interview Wednesday with KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show pointed to a recent study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on face masks.

“Those that wore masks not only reduced the spread to others, but it also provided a protective effect to the wearers,” she said, referring to the study’s findings. “So it reduced the transmission to the person wearing the mask as well.”

Wilson said she recommended people wash their hands first or use hand sanitizer before putting on a face mask.

“Make sure it’s covering your nose and your chin,” she said. “I commonly see individuals wearing their masks below their nose. When you exhale, you are expelling through your nose, so it’s really important that you have that covered as well.”

Wilson said the front of the mask gets contaminated so people should avoid touching that area when they’re taking it off. Instead, they should use the ear loops and perform hand hygiene again.

Cloth masks should be washed after every use.

“You can just wash them with your regular laundry, and then put them in the dryer on high heat or put them out in the sun to dry,” Wilson said.

She explained disposable masks are meant for only one use because there’s not really a good way to clean it.

“We’ve seen such a spike in Arizona,” she said referring to the growing number of coronavirus cases. “The more we can wear these when we do have to go out in public, the better.”

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit

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