Mask best practices and how to avoid contamination

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With the governor's mask order now in effect, mask safety is something to keep in mind.

The governor's mask order says everyone must wear a face covering anywhere you can't social distance. It applies to anyone in a county where there have been 20 or more confirmed COVID cases.

We spoke with an infectious disease doctor at Memorial Hermann about mask safety.

"It's very important to remember that masks have two sides. The inside and the outside, and you never really want to cross contaminate one side with the other. Usually, with disposable masks, the outside is the one that has color, and the inside is the one that has white. You should always be mindful about not touching the inside after you've touched something else," said Dr. Luis Ostrosky.

Dr. Ostrosky says if you take off the mask, be sure to store it properly.

"When you take your mask off, and you're going to put it somewhere, you should always put it upside down or in a container as to, again, not cross contaminate," said Dr. Ostrosky.

If you have a disposable mask, use it for just one day.

Cloth masks also work well, but it's best you wash them every day, and pick one with layers.

"What we do recommend is that you use three ply masks, three layers of cloth. The other important recommendation is that you do not use valve masks, the one that have the little valve. They're actually very comfortable for breathing, but they defeat the purpose of the mask, which is to keep your secretions contained inside," said Ostrosky.

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