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Do you need to wear a mask to the store or while driving? Can coronavirus (COVID-19) live on clothes?

Dr. Frank McGeorge answers viewer question about coronavirus

DETROIT – There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there about the coronavirus (COVID-19), so Local 4 is letting viewers submit questions so we can find verified answers.

Click here if you want to submit a question about the coronavirus.

Dr. Frank McGeorge wants to verify or refute any information about the coronavirus, but there are also some questions experts still don’t know the answer to. McGeorge is discussing them because acknowledging what we don’t know is just as important as verifying information so people don’t rely on incorrect answers.

When to wear a mask

Several viewers have asked whether it’s safe to ride in a car without a face mask.

The answer is yes, if it’s just you and your immediate family members in the car.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a homemade mask when you are out in public places such as grocery stores and pharmacies.

Cleaning masks

Viewers are also wondering if they need to clean their homemade masks, and if so, how?

It’s important to clean homemade masks regularly. How often depends on how frequently it’s worn.

Homemade masks should be made from a fabric that can be washed in the washing machine and dried in the dryer without damage.

Regular laundry detergent is sufficient.

A few people have asked if they can microwave their masks to kill the virus, but that could be potentially dangerous. Microwaves can damage certain types of masks and cause others to catch fire.

Washing clothes

On a related note, viewers are asking if they should wash their clothes after they get back from the grocery store.

That’s a good idea, because the virus can survive on fabric for a period of time.

If you’ve just been out walking in the neighborhood, changing clothes isn’t necessary. But if you’ve been to a store or another high-risk area, it’s not unreasonable to change and put the clothes you were wearing through the wash.

More mask advice

No matter what kind of mask you wear, it’s very important to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before you put it on and after you take it off.

You also want to avoid adjusting or fiddling with the mask while it’s on. You should always avoid touching your face with unclean hands.

Make sure it fits properly and isn’t too loose.


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