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Prevea Health

When (and when not to) wear a mask


The following guidelines are from the CDC. In addition, a statewide mask mandate is currently in effect for Wisconsin. Click here to learn more about what the mandate requires.

When to wear a mask:

  • It is recommended you wear a mask in public settings. This includes the grocery store, gas station, or any other setting where you may come in contact or interact with people who are not a part of your household.
  • If you are sick and interacting with others within your household, you should wear a mask.
  • If you are caring for someone who is sick in your home, you should wear a mask.

When not to wear a mask:

  • People should not wear masks while engaged in activities that may cause the mask to become wet, like when swimming at the beach or pool. A wet mask may make it difficult to breathe. For activities like swimming, it is particularly important to maintain physical distance from others when in the water.
  • People who are engaged in high intensity activities, like running, may not be able to wear a mask if it causes difficulty breathing. If unable to wear a mask, consider conducting the activity in a location with greater ventilation and air exchange and where it is possible to maintain physical distance from others.
  • People who work in a setting where masks may increase the risk of heat-related illness or cause safety concerns due to introduction of a hazard (for instance, straps getting caught in machinery) may consult with an occupational safety and health professional to determine the appropriate face covering for their setting. Outdoor workers may prioritize use of masks when in close contact with other people, like during group travel or shift meetings and remove face coverings when social distancing is possible. 

In addition, the following people should not wear masks:
  • Children younger than 2 years old
  • Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
  • Click here for more information

If you have any questions or concerns about your ability to wear a mask for medical reasons, it is important you consult with your doctor.