Let’s Face It, Wear a Mask

Trainee Demonstrating How to Put On Mask
Credit: CDC/Nahid-Bhadelia, M.D.

COVID-19 is in full swing and we all are potentially at risk of contracting it. Although it’s not doomsday, there are simple steps we must take to minimize our chances of contracting and/or spreading it further. In addition to hand washing and sanitizing, we must also wear a mask every time we leave the house. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an N95 respirator, but a simple covering over our nose and mouths.

My reason in support of this is different than that of the CDC. The original guideline was only those working closely with infected patients, or those patients, should wear masks to minimize the spread. Now, it’s recommended that everyone wear face coverings when outside. This is a valid reason for masks, because we know that many asymptomatic people have unknowingly spread COVID-19.

Importance of Wearing a Mask

Truth be told, about a month ago, before the mandates, I found it ridiculous when I saw people wearing masks and other face coverings. I thought it was unneeded, especially those who were using surgical masks and scarfs. But my view point changed after talking to LilyP about seeing mail carriers wearing masks. She brought up the point that wearing a mask acts like a barrier, keeping you from touching your mouth and nose.

Stop Touching Your Face

Many people unconsciously touch their eyes, nose, and mouth constantly. And people don’t wash their hands. Because of that, I’ve long ago taken steps to minimize touching surfaces outside the home. I open doors with minimal contact with my hands. I don’t put my hands on counters or handrails. And what I feel is most important, I don’t touch my face in public. If I must, I use the back of my wrist.

Got You Covered

Simply wearing a mask doesn’t automatically provide the best protection. It’s important to:

  • Have a routine and stick to it
  • Put it on before leaving the house
  • Make sure it’s on properly and comfortably
  • Breathe freely
  • Don’t touch it again until it’s time to remove it
  • Wash hands before taking it off if it’s being reused

I recently saw someone pull their mask down immediately upon leaving a takeout restaurant. If their hands were contaminated, that means the mask is now contaminated. And from there it’s a slippery slope of cross contamination.

A mask can only protect so much. Be mindful of what you touch and then touching your mask.

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