With quarantine in full swing, masks have become a staple item of clothing, with people all over the world covering their faces to prevent COVID-19 infection. Everyone’s trying to get their hands on a mask, but how good are masks at preventing infection? What’s the correct way to wear a mask? How can masks be made at home?
Here are the need-to-know facts about masks during the Coronavirus pandemic:
How do masks slow down the spread of the virus?
Dr. David Chansolme, an infectious disease specialist at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center, says that it’s unclear whether masks protect the wearer from catching the virus. The main purpose of wearing masks is to prevent others from catching the disease if you’re carrying it without symptoms.
Dr. Dale Bratzler, a specialist in internal medicine at OU Medical Center, says that masks are good at catching virus-carrying droplets from your own nose and mouth, but they aren’t as good at protecting the wearer from inhaling droplets. Mask policies are put in place to protect the general populace, because if everyone is wearing a mask, it’s harder for them to spread the disease.
This just goes to show that wearing a mask isn’t an excuse to join a large gathering or to stop self-isolating the best you can. However, if you want the extra security of one, it’ll keep your community and loved ones from catching anything and may even help you stay safer!
What’s the correct way to wear a mask?
First, make sure your mask is properly fitted. If you have to keep adjusting the mask while you’re wearing it, you’re putting your hands near your face and increasing the risk of infection. Don’t touch the mask once it’s on, make sure it’s covering both the nose and mouth, and don’t pull it down to speak to people. When you take your mask off, take it off by the ear loops and avoid touching the rest.