Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Making It Easier to Wear a Mask to Help Prevent Infections

Making It Easier to Wear a Mask to Help Prevent Infections


Why is it important to wear a mask?

Wearing a mask can be a little uncomfortable at times. Most people would probably agree that it takes some getting used to. But wearing a mask is a way to help keep yourself, your family, and others around you from getting sick.

You may have heard conflicting advice about masks, so it's important to know the facts.

Facts about masks and infections

  • Wearing a mask helps control the spread of infections.

    Wearing a mask, along with things like washing your hands a lot, is one of the best ways to help prevent the spread of infections like the flu and COVID-19.

  • You can have an infection but not have any symptoms.

    If this happens, you could spread the infection without knowing it. Wearing a mask helps protect other people from germs that could make them seriously ill.

  • Even healthy people can get very sick from infections.

    Anyone, from healthy babies to older people who don't have health problems, can get very sick or die from an infection like the flu or COVID-19. And some people are at higher risk for serious illness. This includes people who have a weakened immune system or a chronic disease like asthma.

  • Wearing a mask won't cause breathing problems.

    Some people are concerned that wearing a mask could cause breathing problems by raising their carbon dioxide (CO2) levels or lowering their oxygen levels. But studies have shown that this isn't true, even for people who have lung or heart problems. Many people, such as health care workers, have always worn masks for hours a day without any breathing problems.

Tips for making it easier to wear a mask

Do you wish that wearing a mask could be a little easier and more comfortable? Here are some ideas.

  • Find a comfortable style and fit.
    • Get a mask that fits well over your mouth and chin, with no gaps. A cloth mask should have at least two layers of breathable, washable fabric. Some masks have a slightly stiffer fabric and a different shape that doesn't press against your mouth.
    • If it feels better, wear a mask that fits around your head rather than hooking behind your ears. Or use disposable masks if they feel more comfortable.
    • Try using a mask that's a lighter color if you'll be wearing it in hot, sunny weather.
    • If you wear glasses, put them over the mask's cloth on your nose to keep them from fogging up. Masks that have a wire you can shape around your nose can also help keep glasses from fogging.
  • Have extra masks.

    It's important to always have a clean, dry mask available. If your mask gets wet, it makes it harder to breathe. If you have trouble remembering your mask, keep extras in a bag, in your purse, or in the car.

  • If your masks are washable, wash them often.

    This can keep them from getting dirty and collecting germs. And having a clean mask helps keep your skin clean so it's less likely to get irritated.

  • Avoid bad odors.
    • Brush your teeth well to keep your breath fresh.
    • Avoid using scented lotions or perfumes if they give your mask an odor that bothers you.
    • If your mask smells bad, try washing it more often. It might help to avoid using scented detergents or dryer sheets.
  • Take breaks.

    If you have to wear a mask for long periods, take breaks when you can. It's okay to take off your mask outside, as long as you follow public health guidelines. You might be less likely to drink enough water while wearing your mask for a long time. So make sure you drink enough.

  • Prevent skin problems.
    • Wash your face daily to help keep your skin from getting itchy or irritated. Dry your face gently. Try not to rub or scratch your face if it does get irritated. And try using a cool cloth if it helps.
    • Use a gentle face moisturizer. Apply petroleum jelly to your lips if they're chapped. Some skin medicines can be more irritating if used under a mask, so talk to your doctor if you're having problems. Wearing makeup under a mask can cause problems, so avoid it if your skin is irritated.
    • If you use oxygen, use a water-based product instead of petroleum jelly.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Quick Tips: 10 Things to Do if You Have COVID-19 Vaccine to Prevent COVID-19

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna


Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

The Cigna Group Information

About Cigna Healthcare Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers The Cigna Group Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap Cookie Settings


Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Georgia, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of South Carolina, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of Texas, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details