Personal hygiene, face masks & cleaning tips
Coronavirus is a new virus that causes infection in people including a severe respiratory illness.
It spreads through close contact, mostly face to face or within a household.
It is most likely to spread if you’re face to face with someone for more than 15 minutes or sharing an enclosed space for more than two hours.
The most common symptoms are:
- Breathing difficulties, such as breathlessness
- Sore throat
- Fatigue or tiredness
If you’re experiencing these symptoms phone 1800 675 398. Please keep 000 for emergencies only.
To help reduce the spread of COVID 19 you should:
- Wear a mask when you're away from home
- Keep 1.5 metres from other people at all time
- If you're feeling unwell, get tested and self isolate while you wait for the results.
- Wash your hands often with soap and running water
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow if you don’t have a tissue
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with more than 60 per cent alcohol
- Touch your eyes, nose or mouth
- Shake hands
It is not certain how long COVID-19 survives on surfaces so it’s important to clean frequently.
Here’s what you can do around the home to protect yourself against COVID-19:
- Frequently clean high-touch items like light switches, door handles, car steering wheels and dashboards, taps, hand rails and toilet flushers.
- Frequently clean hand-held items like phones, remote controls, video game controllers and keyboards.
- Regularly clean kids’ toys
- Use a disinfectant with a minimum of 60% alcohol
- Clean surfaces with hot soapy water and let them dry before using a disinfectant
- Use disinfectants as per manufacturer’s instructions
Information about face masks
View the information below to learn more about using a face masks or download our face mask fact sheet.(PDF, 353KB)
What is a cloth mask?
Cloth masks are any nose and mouth covering made of washable fabric. A cloth mask should be made of three layers including a mix of breathable fabrics to ensure adequate protection.
Why and when to wear a cloth mask?
The primary reason to wear a mask is to protect others. If you are unknowingly infected with coronavirus, a mask will help reduce the chance that you could spread the virus to others.
In Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, masks are now mandatory whenever in public.
How do I wear a mask correctly?
A cloth mask should fit securely around the face, specifically covering the nose and the mouth areas. The mask should be secured by ties at the back of your head or ear loops Make sure that your mask does not have holes or a valve.
This can result in breathing out the virus if you have coronavirus (COVID-19).
Before putting the mask on
Ensure that the mask is clean. Check for defects in the mask, such as tears, broken loops and the general integrity of the fabric. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol.
When putting the mask on
Pick up the mask by touching ear loops or ties only.
Avoid touching the mask itself Hold both ear loops and place a loop around each ear.
Fit mask around nose, mouth and chin and ensure you can breathe easily.
While wearing the mask
Don’t put the face covering around your neck or up on your forehead.
Don’t touch the face covering, and, if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitiser to disinfect.
When taking the mask off
Carefully remove your mask by grasping the ear loops or untying the ties.
Fold the outside corners of the mask together and put it directly into the laundry or into a disposable or washable bag for laundering.
Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash or snaitise your hands immediately after removal.
When should I wash my cloth mask?
A cloth mask should be washed each day after use. However, if during the day your mask is visibly dirty or wet, do not continue wearing your mask; the mask needs to be washed. It is a good idea to have a least 2 cloth masks to allow change over as required.
Re-using a cloth mask without washing is risky because it can become contaminated or may not be as effective in protecting you.
How do I wash my cloth mask?
Cloth masks can be washed in the washing machine with other clothes, or hand-washed using soap and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth.
Your cloth mask should be dry before re-using it. You can use the heat setting on your dryer or lay out flat to air dry. If possible, place the cloth mask in direct sunlight. Wash your hands after handling used face masks.
Is there anyone who should not wear a mask?
Anyone with a pre-existing heart or lung condition should seek medical advice before using a face mask. Mask use is currently not recommended for persons under 12 years old.
For the latest COVID-19 public health information please visit dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
Please keep 000 for emergencies only.