Using face masks correctly in public settings helps reduce the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 spreads to people within close contact via small droplets sprayed into the air by someone with the disease who coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. Wearing face masks or cloth face coverings that cover the nose, mouth, and chin and fit snuggly across your cheeks helps reduce the spray of respiratory droplets from the nose and mouth. Wearing a face mask may also protect you from infection.
Review Date 3/15/2022
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.