What’s the Deal with Masks?

Wednesday May 27, 2020

Masks or (homemade cloth face coverings) have recently become a hot commodity after the CDC recommended that we should all start wearing one when out in public.

And while we have all become experts at hand-washing and social distancing, there’s still confusion about how and when to wear masks.  

Q: Do I really need to wear a mask when out in public? 

Yes. Wearing a mask not only helps to protect you from COVID-19, but it also helps to protect others. The CDC now estimates that almost 1/3 of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic—meaning they don’t show any signs of illness. Think of wearing a mask as a selfless act, one in which we are each taking responsibility and doing our part to help protect the most vulnerable members of our community.  

Q: Is there a right way to wear my mask? 

The mask should fit snugly and cover your nose, mouth and chin. Many people neglect to keep the nose covered

You should also never touch the front of your mask as it might be contaminated. Instead, you should only touch the ear loops or ties on the back when putting the mask on or taking it off.

Take care to always have the same side of the mask facing outward. Always keep the “clean” side in. And you should also wash your hands before and after use.

Q: How do I get my mask to stop fogging up my glasses?

Consider the fit of your face mask, to prevent your exhaled breath from reaching your glasses. If you wear a surgical-style mask with elastic loops and find your glasses fogging, cross the ear loops once and then slide around your ear.

Another tactic is to place a folded tissue between your mouth and the mask. The tissue will absorb the warm, moist air, preventing it from reaching your glasses. Also, make sure the top of your mask is tight and the bottom looser, to help direct your exhaled breath away from your eyes.

Finally, an easy hack is to first rinse your glasses in a dish washing detergent and let the lenses air dry before wearing. The film of surfactant prevents the fogging up.

 Q: Is it OK to pull my mask down around my chin and then pull it back up when I need it? 

No! This is a common misconception that we have noticed. Under no circumstance should you pull your mask down around your chin or take it off and put it back on. This can increase your risk of infection.

Q: Do I need to wear a mask when driving in my car or walking around the neighborhood? 

 In your car, no. But you should wear a mask anytime you are in a public place and social distancing becomes a challenge.

Q: If I visit family do I need to wear a mask? 

When you’re around immediate household family members, you don’t need to wear a mask. But still hold off on visiting those outside of your immediate family unit (those you are socially isolating with) without a mask.

Q: Does my baby need to wear a mask? 

According to the CDC, young children under the age of 2 should not wear a mask to prevent the possibility of suffocation. Older children should wear them when around others.

Q: Should I clean or change my mask? 

Masks should be routinely changed or washed depending on the frequency of use. Cloth masks can be safely cleaned in a washing machine.

Q: Do I need to wear gloves? 

Unless you are a health care provider, you do not need to wear gloves. Gloves can give us a false sense of security and actually result in less frequent handwashing. The big thing to remember is to wash your hands often with soap and water and avoid touching your face.