Can cloth face masks get you sick?


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – People across the United States are wearing cloth face masks in an effort to curb transmission of the coronavirus.

But experts say that wearing a fabric mask for long periods of time- or for several days at a time- can allow bacteria to build up and  actually make you sick.

- Advertisement -

Dr. Carlos Baleeiro, a Pulmonologist at CHI Memorial, says it’s important to wash those cloth masks every few days. 

“They can be washed in the regular laundry. The best recommendation is to use a warm setting on the washer, depending on the fabrics you’re mixing with. Both the  detergent as well as mild heat, will deactivate the virus,” says Dr. Carlos Baleeiro, Pulmonologist for CHI memorial.

Officials say it’s also important that you touch the outside of your mask as little as possible.

They recommend that  you use the end ear loops to place the mask correctly across your face.

Then make certain it’s covering both the nose and mouth.

“If you grab your mask at the ends opposed to just grabbing the masks, you are minimizing touching the outside that gets exposed. It’s allergy season so when you touch your mask then touch your nose and face; you have just undermined the whole point of the masks,” says Dr. Baleeiro.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that everyone going out into a public space wear a face mask or covering. 

For more information and to stay update on the latest Coronavirus news click here


Previous articleLong lines snarl voting in Georgia primaries amid pandemic
Next articleProtester hit by car speaks out
Joeli Poole joined the WDEF News 12 Team in April 2019 as a Reporter and Producer. You can find her reporting during the week and when not on camera; she's producing the 6 and 11 shows. Joeli grew up with a love for reporting, starting in middle school. She has been the anchor for her middle and high school TV stations, along with the Sports Anchor for her College TV Station. Joeli grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and moved to Tennessee when she 10 years old. She went to Cleveland Middle school and Walker Valley High School. She graduated in May of 2019 from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a bachelor's degree in Communications. Being from the area, Joeli loves being able to help tell the stories of her community. In her spare time, Joeli enjoys watching her LSU Tigers, hiking, and playing with her dog. Feel free to email any story ideas at