REGINA -- The Saskatchewan Health Authority is offering advice for people who decide to wear a face mask in public.

It says the non-medical and cloth coverings can help slow the spread of COVID-19, especially when combined with other preventative actions, like physical distancing.

When wearing a mask, here’s what you can do to help protect others and keep yourself safe.

Before putting on your mask, wash your hands. Next, put it over your nose and mouth, and secure it under your chin. Fit it snugly and make sure you can breathe easily.

If you are making a mask, the SHA says make sure you use two layers of tightly woven material, like cotton or linen.

The SHA recommends masks be worn in public when you are around people outside of your household, especially when physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

However, it said child​​​ren under age two, or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance, should not wear one.

The dos of mask wearing:

  • Wash cloth masks in the laundry after every use. Make sure you use hot, soapy water and let it dry before wearing it again.
  • Replace the mask if it gets dirty or soiled.
  • Store the mask in a clean environment until it’s worn again.

The don’ts:

  • Don't touch and adjust the mask when it’s on your face.
  • Don’t put it around your neck or on your forehead.
  • Don’t share it.
  • Don’t re-use disposable masks.
  • Don’t leave a used mask within reach of others.

Once you’re done wearing your mask, the SHA said you should first untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops.

Only handle the ear loops or ties. After, fold the corners together and place the cloth mask in the washing machine. Disposable masks should go into a plastic lined garbage bin.

The SHA said be careful not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth when removing a mask, and wash your hands immediately after a mask has been removed.

It said wearing a mask alone won’t prevent the spread of COVID-19. People must also wash their hands often, practice physical distancing and stay home if unwell.