The Big Q: To mask or not to mask? This is a question that has become increasingly important now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has changed its original recommendation and now says we all should cover our faces in public where it is difficult to observe social distancing rules.
The reason for the change is that there is mounting evidence that people who show no symptoms can spread the virus.
While the CDC and others are still discouraging the use of medical-grade masks for the public because they are in short supply, many organizations are offering tips on how to make your own face covering using cotton T-Shirt material or tea towels.
Experts note that these materials may help block respiratory droplets coming people sickened by the coronavirus, although they do not know exactly how much protection they provide.
What is clear is that covering eyes, nose, and mouth can reduce the spread of disease.
Dr. Daniel Griffin, an expert on infectious diseases at Columbia University, tells us that masks have the potential to benefit people, but we need to wear and handle them correctly.
“That’s why in studies, masks fail, people do not use them correctly,” he says. “They touch the front of it. They adjust it. They push it down somehow to get their nose stuck out.“
Dr. Griffin recommends carefully removing the mask by the ear bands and either washing or discarding it without touching the front of it. It needs to be washed every time it’s used. If you are making your own mask at home, use a tight-weave cotton.
“Do not use a synthetic or polyester because they have looked at the virus’ ability to survive on surfaces, and spandex is the worst,” he advises.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has step-by-step instructions on how to make a DIY face mask. Experts also recommend using eye protection.
Glasses and sunglasses are not the best choices, but they may protect you from a stranger’s sneeze. You can also wear tight-fitting goggles, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)
If you wear contact lenses, switch to glasses to reduce how often you touch your face. People who wear contacts tend to touch their face more frequently than those who do not the AAO says.
Have a healthy day, stay at home, Keep the Faith!