Why You Should Wear A Face Mask: Myths Debunked

Hey guys, I’m back with another post. I’m sure you can tell what I’m going to be talking about from the title of the post. I overheard someone say that wearing a mask was a joke and that it was not protecting us from anything. I cannot tell you how annoyed I was. I live in the state of Georgia, and we just broke the record for the highest number of cases in a given day, and yet the governor of the state issued a mandate forbidding cities and counties to implement mask orders. When I heard this news, I was livid, which also prompted me to write this blog post. I am personally here to tell YOU should wear a mask.  The public health student in me had to do my research multiple times about the pros and cons of wearing a mask, so in this blog post, I will be sharing some myths and facts about wearing a mask so that we can all be safe.

According to the CDC, Cloth face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face-covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. There has been emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows that wearing cloth face coverings reduces the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.

COVID-19 is spread mainly among people who are in close contact with one another, which is why using cloth face coverings is vital in settings where people are close to each other or where it is difficult to maintain social distancing (CDC, 2020).

Since this pandemic started, there’s been countless debates about whether or not we should wear a mask, and those debates has caused a lot of misinformation to spread. Let’s get into the meat of this blog post, and I hope you are able to learn something or see the importance of protecting ourselves and others.

Who Should Wear A Mask?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of 2 wear a mask while they are in public settings. If it’s one thing we should know by now is that asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus, so you must wear a mask and maintain your 6 feet distance. I know I said everyone, but per the CDC, some adjustments can be made, especially when wearing a mask may not be feasible.

These adjustments are for individuals who have a breathing problem, are deaf or hard of hearing, or those of you who rely on lipreading to communicate. I know we all have different jobs and sometimes wearing a mask may not be the most comfortable or it causes you to be even hotter, it is important to maintain social distance still and to wear a mask because it is crucial and is a key part in preventing the spread of the virus. Of course, you should still be washing your hands often and clean your surroundings with disinfectant wipes and sprays.

Who Should Not Wear A Mask?

When it comes to who should NOT wear a mask, it is mandated that children under two years old, people with breathing problems, and individuals who can’t remove the mask without assistance, such as those who are incapacitated or disabled.

Now that you know who should and shouldn’t wear a mask, let’s tackle some of the myths that have been going around the internet and debunked them with the truth.

Myth #1: Cloth masks don’t protect you.

Fact: Cloth face masks are effective. They create a barrier between your mouth and nose and those around you. This makes it more difficult for the droplets that spread coronavirus through coughs, sneezes, and talking to reach other people. Cloth masks keep you from unknowingly spreading the disease to others.

Myth #2:  Masks can cause carbon dioxide (CO2) build-up.

Fact: I have seen people say that carbon dioxide from exhaling can get trapped under the cloth and can make you sick. This is untrue. Masks that are appropriately fitted tend to have adequate airflow while you are covering your nose and mouth. This makes carbon dioxide being trapped under the mask impossible.

Myth #3: If I’m wearing a mask, I don’t need to practice social distancing.

Fact: We all need to play our part in trying to prevent the spread of this virus. By wearing a mask, this will help with slowing down the spread of the virus. We still need to practice social distancing, wash your hands often, and of course, self- isolate if you think you may have come in contact with someone who has the virus or if you tested positive for COVID-19.

Myth #4: The way you wear a mask is not important.

Fact: This is a big one, I have seen people out and about with a mask on their face, but for some reason, it’s not covering both mouth and nose, I’ve seen somewhere the mask was below the nose or not covering the mask. According to the CDC, a cloth face mask needs to have the following to be effective

Cover both your nose and mouth

 Fit snugly but comfortably against the sides of the face

Be secured with ties or ear loops

Have multiple layers of fabric

Allow for unrestricted breathing

Able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or shape changes

WHERE YOUR MASK PROPERLY!

Myth #5: If you’ve had coronavirus, you don’t need a mask.

Fact:  If you’ve had a coronavirus before or had an antibody test come up positive, that does not mean you don’t need to wear a mask.  Having had the virus does not mean you are immune to it. So, there is a possibility that you can catch the virus and spread it to others; this is why wearing a mask is important. Think about it, do you really need to be outside if it’s not essential? I certainly don’t think so.

Let me just say I know that at times wearing a mask can be uncomfortable and especially in this heat, which is why you should make an effort to stay home and only go outside if it is necessary. I advocate wearing a mask because I work in the healthcare field, I’m an essential worker, and because COVID- 19 is REAL. I’ll be honest with you, the other day it was 100 degrees outside, and I was craving a smoothie and a Jamaican patty. I parked my car, and the walk in the heat from my car to the smoothie shop and to the Jamaican restaurant almost took me out, IT WAS HOT.

I have been working in the heat daily for nearly two months. I’m talking about being donned in full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), a gown, double masks, gloves, shield. Guys, I’m out here trying to do some good in the world, and having to wear all of that in the heat is not the most comfortable. I say this to say; I know having to wear a mask is not fancy or is not the most comfortable but please let’s normalize wearing a mask so that we can prevent and slow down the spread of this deadly disease and not put those we care about in harm’s way.

Cases are rising in several states, check out my post about to stay safe during a pandemic for some tips

Have you been taking wearing a mask seriously, or do you believe the myths?

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