CTS recommendations regarding the use of face masks by the public during the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic

Summary of recommendations

  • We support the Public Health Agency of Canada’s recommendation of wearing a homemade non-medical face mask in the community for periods of time when it is not possible to consistently maintain a 2-metre physical distance from others.
  • REVISED – We recommend that all individuals with underlying lung disease follow PHAC’s recommendation to reduce the risk of spreading or becoming infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • If patients cannot tolerate wearing this added protection, we recommend that they avoid or minimize circumstances in which physical distancing is not possible.
  • There is NO evidence that wearing a face mask will exacerbate (cause a ‘flare up’ of) an underlying lung condition.
  • We recommend that anyone who uses a face mask familiarize themselves with how to properly put on and take off this equipment.
  • It is important that if one is wearing a mask, it should be comfortable and not require frequent adjustment to avoid contaminating the wearer’s hands.
  • We remind everyone that wearing a face mask alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19 and that use of face masks should complement other recommended public health measures, including frequent hand washing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and physical distancing.

How to wear a non-medical mask or face covering properly

Public Health Agency of Canada

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Addressing patient concerns regarding face masks

Response from the Canadian Thoracic Society