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MEXICO CITY - APRIL 30: People wear surgical masks, to help prevent being infected with the swine flu, as they ride a public bus on April 30, 2009 in Mexico City, Mexico. Cases of swine flu, the strain known as H1N1 virus, have been confirmed in nine countries, including Mexico, where at least 2,400 are believed to be infected, with the number of deaths attributed to the virus believed to be more than 150. The World Health Organization today raised the threat level to 'phase 5,' indicating a 'pandemic is imminent. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Five Mistakes You Might Still Be Making with Face Masks

You’d think we’d all be experts at wearing face masks by now.  But here are five mistakes you might still be making . . .

1.  Using the wrong material.  The best reusable face masks are made of breathable fibers with tight weaves, like lightweight denim or cotton bedsheets.  A thread count around 100 is ideal.  If you can see through it when you hold it to the light, it’s too thin.

2.  Putting your mask on too late.  Ideally, you should put it on before you leave the house, or at least before you get out of the car.  If you wait until you’re walking into a store, you might be exposing yourself to the virus without knowing it.

3.  Taking it off too early.  For the same reason, you should leave it on until you get in your car, or until you get home.

4.  Accidentally contaminating it.  Touching your mask to adjust it, or even just wearing it around your neck could contaminate it.

5.  Never washing it.  Cloth masks should be washed after every use on the hottest setting possible.  Or if you only wear it once in a while, you can let it sit in a bag for a week to make sure any virus on it dies off.  

Hope Bidegainberry

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