Should I Wear a Mask or Face Covering to Prevent Spreading COVID-19?
Previously, the CDC and the WHO recommended that people not wear masks to avoid spreading and getting COVID-19. This was based on previous concerns that using masks incorrectly could actually spread the virus more.
New evidence shows that as many as 25 to 50% of people with COVID-19 may not show symptoms, which means you can spread the virus before you know you have it.
The CDC now recommends that Americans wear cloth face coverings when you leave home to keep you from accidentally spreading the virus. A face covering can catch droplets from your mouth and nose so you don’t spread them to people nearby. You can use a scarf, a bandanna or a homemade mask. Use material that you can machine wash and dry without damage.
To tell if a homemade face covering will be sufficient, shine a light through it. If you can see the light through it, it will not offer sufficient protection. Your face covering may need multiple layers. Make sure your face covering blocks the light but still allows you to breathe through it.
Because of the limited supply, the CDC urges you NOT to purchase surgical, N95 or any other kind of medical mask. We need to save the supply for health care workers who already don’t have enough supplies.
You must still continue to practice social distancing even if you wear a face covering. A face covering will not give you 100% protection from catching COVID-19. But it will help you and others reduce the chance of spreading it, especially if you aren’t showing symptoms.
It is important to follow proper steps when using a face covering or mask. Follow these steps when using a face covering or mask:
- Wash your hands before putting on a face covering or mask.
- Fully cover your mouth, nose and beard. Make sure there are no gaps between the face covering or mask and your skin.
- Avoid touching the face covering or mask while using it.
- If your face covering or mask gets damp, do not reuse it.
- Remove the mask from behind, trying to not touch the front. Wash washable face coverings right away. Throw away disposable masks into a closed bag or trash can.
- Wash your hands with hot water and soap.
Masks may not be appropriate for children age 2 and younger. It’s best to keep kids at home where they do not need to wear a mask.
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References and further reading
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ; Coronavirus(COVID-19) What people with asthma need to know Click here
Washable Multi-Layer Face Mask by Wicked Sheets Click here
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