That is the question
well we all probably have opinions on the matter that is for sure some like them, some hate them, some wear them, others don’t
I have some medical background I am not a doctor and don’t ever claim to be but my masters degree is in public health and therefore I feel I can confidently provide some information here that hopefully will help to explain the reasons face coverings are a good idea.
I have seen some people that are doctors and nurses speak strongly against wearing masks(why is this? they have to know masks are effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19, don’t they?)
Respiratory infections are mainly spread through respiratory droplets that can travel out of a persons mouth and nose during breathing, coughing, sneezing, speaking and singing. The most dangerous part of this is we cannot see these droplets and the fact the droplets can travel upwards of 6 feet or so.
According to the CDC the respiratory droplets can travel up to 6 feet in distance which is why social distancing is so important and when social distancing could not be maintained cloth face coverings are helpful at reducing the spread of these respiratory droplets.
Shouldn’t only sick individuals wear a mask to protect the healthy? that is a valid question and under normal circumstances in the case of influenza the answer would definitely be a yes only sick individuals should wear protective face coverings. However COVID is a different monster all together you see many individuals who contract COVID are asymptomatic.(that throws the curve ball now doesn’t it?)
Asymptomatic- meaning literally without or the absence of symptoms
When researchers found out that many people have COVID-19 but do not experience symptoms, think of them like carriers, they are walking around talking sneezing coughing these infected respiratory droplets out onto surfaces which then an unsuspecting persons could touch and could then touch their face and inhale the virus. If this same person decided to wear a mask they would not spread the virus unknowingly therefore helping to flatten the curve of the infection rate.
The only mask that is most effective at protecting from getting this virus is the N95 mask these should be reserved for health care professionals and not for personal use.
The personal face coverings that are available to us help us to not spread the virus are many and widely available now, this is especially important given the fact of so many asymptomatic individuals(walking around with COVID-19 not knowing it spreading it to everyone).
Is there a proper way to wear a cloth covering? Absolutely! Making sure the nose and mouth are completely covered is the only effective way at wearing a mask.
We have flu season each year and you have probably seen the signs in your doctors office explaining to people if they are experiencing symptoms to grab a face mask to wear while waiting in the waiting room/ common areas.
Why do they ask us to wear these masks during flu season?
The same reason they are asking/ recommending us to wear masks today with COVID-19. the virus is spread through respiratory droplets and a mask will reduce the chance of those droplets leaving the infected person infecting other people.
Ways the masks help healthy individuals stay healthy is that the virus is actually contained inside these respiratory droplets which get trapped inside the mask before the droplet has a chance to evaporate releasing the virus it is now trapped inside the mask.
Infected individuals(asymptomatic or symptomatic) the masks help to do the same thing as the infected respiratory droplets leave the persons mouth/ nose the droplets are trapped in the mask before it can hit a surface or someone else.
ways to stay healthy and prevent the spread of illness
- hand washing- the number one way, frequent and appropriate hand washing(not just rinsing of the hands but thoroughly washing them with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds) After every time you touch something that could be contaminated (this is in public places unless you have someone infected at your home you wont have to wash your hands everytime you touch something)
- eating a balanced diet with lots of vegetables and proteins- this is good for your immune system to eat a healthy balanced diet
- limit exposure when and where you can
- continue a vitamin regimen(consult your doctor for more information)
- refrain from touching your face, when you touch something that others have touched you may be touching a contaminated surface and then you bring that virus up to your face where you can inhale it and get infected easily.
- when soap and water is not an option use hand-sanitizer
- disinfect common surfaces as often as you can
- social distance keep your distance from others
- wear a mask when you will be inside and social distancing is impossible
- grocery store
- hotel common areas
- apartment common areas
- beauty shop
- nail salon
- get plenty of rest
- try not to worry or get anxious go on about your normal routine just use common sense– if you are going to be near people you don’t know you need to assume they are infected and wear your mask keep your distance if you are going to be outside away from people don’t worry about wearing a mask
Understanding the virus how it is spread, how you contract it will make you better prepared at preventing community spread.
references: Mayo Clinic CDC Healthline WHO plus my own personal opinions and facts learned while studying Public Health
Masks could be a 2020 fashion statements this post coming soon!
Stay safe out there