People at higher risk for severe illness
Some people are more likely to become very sick with COVID-19
- People who are older
- People with certain medical conditions
- Pregnant and recently pregnant people
People at increased risk, and those who live with or visit them, should
- Talk to their healthcare provider about whether they and the people around them should wear a mask or respirator when the COVID-19 hospital admission level is medium.
- Wear a mask or respirator that provides them with greater protection when the COVID-19 hospital admission level is high.
Children ages 2 years and older can wear masks or respirators to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
Choose a high-quality and comfortable mask or respirator that your child can wear properly. A poorly fitting or uncomfortable mask or respirator might be worn incorrectly or removed often, and that would reduce its intended benefits.
- Choose a size that fits over the child’s nose and under the chin but does not impair vision.
- Follow the user instructions for the mask or respirator. These instructions may show how to make sure the product fits properly.
- Some types of masks and respirators may feel different if your child is used to wearing cloth or disposable procedure masks.
Parents and caregivers may have questions about NIOSH-approved respirators (such as N95s), and international respirators (such as KN95s and KF94s) for children. Although respirators may be available in smaller sizes, they are typically designed to be used by adults in workplaces, and therefore may not have been tested for broad use in children.
- If your child has a medical condition, such as a heart or lung problem, ask their healthcare provider before they use methods to improve mask fit or use an ASTM F3502 mask or a respirator.
- If your child has a hard time breathing, gets dizzy, or has other symptoms while you are trying to get the mask to fit better or when using an ASTM F3502 mask or a respirator, choose a cloth or disposable mask. They should continue to protect themselves and others. Consult your healthcare provider if these symptoms do not resolve.
People with disabilities
Certain groups of people may find it difficult to wear a mask, including people of any age with certain disabilities.
Challenges may be caused by being sensitive to materials on the face, difficulty understanding the importance of mask wearing for protection, or having difficulty controlling behavior to keep the mask in place.
People with certain disabilities or their caregivers can assess whether they need to wear a mask. They should do this by considering the person’s ability to:
- Wear a mask correctly (proper mask size and fit)
- Avoid frequent touching of the mask and face
- Limit sucking, drooling, or having excess saliva on the mask
- Remove the mask without assistance
People who are deaf or hard of hearing
These individuals may consider:
- Wearing a clear mask or a cloth mask with a clear panel
- If a clear mask is not available, using written communication, closed captioning, or decreasing background noise to make communication possible while wearing a mask that blocks lips
Wearing a high-quality mask while you travel can help protect you and others.
Learn about the latest recommendation for wearing masks during travel.