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How to make sure your homemade face mask protects you from COVID-19

What’s the best way to make a mask that can protect you from the coronavirus? We asked a doctor at Saint Louis University

ST. LOUIS — On Friday, the CDC made the recommendation for everyone to wear a cloth face covering when going out in public.

RELATED: Americans recommended to cover faces in public

Since then, tutorials, videos and step-by-step guides have popped up online showing all of us how to make a mask to keep ourselves safe.

But based on the CDC’s new guidelines, and people making their own masks with and without a sewing machine and with the materials they have available, what’s the best mask to help you fight COVID-19?

Tracy Hinson pulled out the homemade mask her cousin made for her and showed it to Saint Louis University’s Dr. Michael Lim. He said having something with easy ear loops is key.

"I think the way that you have your handmade mask with the loops that go around the ears, I think that's also perfect because it's easy to put on. Look, anything in the face region of that mask is the same thing as touching your face. So, we don't want to touch that. We only want to handle it by the loops," Dr. Lim said.

RELATED: How to make your own face mask without a sewing machine

The same rule of thumb applies to the no-sew masks the CDC has tutorials for.

"Have a couple, two or three layers within that mask and there's enough layers of a nice cloth material that will protect you from aerosolizing a virus out to others,” Dr. Lim explained.

And how should we be wearing these homemade makes?

"Not totally loose, but against your nose and up against your cheeks. But comfortable. I think would be effective," he said.

Wearing a cloth covering will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and it may prevent a person from catching the virus, but it is not a ticket to hang out with friends again.

“Look, the mask is not necessarily giving you a free pass to do everything and anything you want out of the house. Unfortunately, the concept now is the social distancing, which means limit your time out of your own house and limit your time in communication with other folks. It's hard. It's not fun in any way, shape or form. But that is actually the best that every person around here can do to try to stop that spread,” he said.

It's also important for Americans to be reserving medical-grade masks for our doctors, nurses and others who are in close contact with the virus on a daily basis.

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