By now, I’m sure you’ve seen people walking around in a variety of masks in an attempt to protect themselves from the coronavirus, but are the masks really beneficial? Are they the right type? Are they on properly?
Masks are sold out all over the country. Even Amazon, the world’s largest company, can’t get enough masks for workers in its warehouses. Some healthcare professionals can’t find masks to do their jobs safely. If you are lucky enough to find a mask, wearing masks can give you a sense of security, but maybe a false sense of security. You may feel as if you are shielded from a virus entering your noise or mouth (even your eyes), but because you’re feeling invisible, you may get careless with the handwashing, and face touching.
According to the CDC, the only people that should wear a mask are healthcare professionals, those caring for coronavirus patients, or those who have the virus themselves.
One of the most important things to remember, all masks are not created equal. The popular blue surgical mask with white trim around the top and bottom may not do a good job guarding you from infected droplets. A better use for these masks is when you have the infection and you don’t want to pass your droplets from others.
Wearing a cloth bandana or scarf around your mouth and nose can trap moisture in and help bacteria and viruses to grow. Some people have resorted to wearing the mask that painters and construction workers use.
A reusable respirator is not very useful unless you’re able to wash it every time someone sneezes or coughs in your vicinity.The N95 respirators is what healthcare professionals use. It filters out at least 95% of particles in the air. There is growing concern that if people can find and order these masks, there may not be enough available for the healthcare workers who really need them.
More and more celebrities like Kim Kardashian West, Kate Hudson, and Gwyneth Paltrow have been spotted running errands (when we were allowed to go outside regularly) or on planes in surgical mask and N95 respirators even posting photos of themselves on their social media.
So, the best ways to prevent contracting the coronavirus is follow the safety guidelines which are frequent handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds, cough and sneeze into the bend of your elbow, don’t touch your face, disinfect surfaces, and practice social distancing. Follow these safety guidelines and you won’t need to wear a mask and you will free up the mask supplies for the healthcare workers who really need them.