Updated: Jun 9, 2020
Despite the mixed messages of whether some of us will or will not wear the mask. Please choose to wear your mask when you go out to do your shopping, fill gas, or even when you go to work. It will save your and your community lives.
You and you alone are responsible for your own health. Believe me, no one can care for you but you.
Mask provides a barrier to help to stop the virus jumping between two humans and hence reduce the infection rate in the community. The COVID-19 virus is small, very small. The studies have shown that this virus can remain in the air for up to 3 hours, up to 24 hours on cardboards, and 72 hours in plastics and metal. In fact, according to a recent study done by MIT, COVID-19 virus can actually travel 27 feet in the air compared to the 6 feet that was previously reported. The CDC recommended that we should stay 6 feet apart because they believed the virus to travel in droplets, however, there’s more evidence pointing towards the virus getting aerosolized, which is why it travels 27 feet in the air. Socially distancing yourself from many people is important. But if you have to travel to a possible hotspot of infection, such as grocery stores, it’s imperative that you protect yourself by wearing a mask!
An infected person could cough and walk by you, the handles on the carts may not be too clean, and the products in the aisles may be handled by multiple––potentially infected––people. Of course the grocery stores are mindful of all this so they are actually trying to sanitize as best they can. However you should still wear gloves, and masks to protect yourself during grocery store trips. Or, better yet, curbside pickup and/or deliveries are even safer options. Once you have the products at home then you should wipe them clean before you bring them in.
There are different kinds of masks.
The N-95 mask is the gold standard. Healthcare professionals who are actually treating and face to face with a COVID-19 patient should be using them.
Other masks include surgical masks and homemade masks made with cloth materials like those of t-shirts, towels, and cotton cloth. These are the ones that are more likely to be used by the community and what you will likely use. Right now, there are many small businesses and people in the community who have started making these reusable masks at home that you can buy from them. You can even make them yourself from multiple DIY videos online. Refer to the pictures below if you want to purchase any homemade cloth masks.
It is true that the cloth masks and the surgical masks do not adequately filter this very very small virus but having a mask is better than not having one at all. You don’t want to get the virus and you don’t want to spread it either.
Wearing the mask is useful in the following ways:
1. Preventing asymptomatic people from spreading the virus by minimizing the viral aerosol particles that can spray on to nearby people and surfaces.
2. Having something around your face will decrease the need to touch your nose and mouth.
The most important thing to remember in all this is that wearing the mask is giving you another tool to help with prevention.
All these tools need to go together to make sure we do our part to prevent getting sick and yes to help our community to flatten that curve.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before wearing the mask.
- Do not touch the inside and outside of the mask.
- Always handle the mask from the side strings/ elastic.
-Put your reusable cloth masks in a designated paper bag.
-Wash your cloth mask in washing machine and dry it in the dryer.
-Wash your hands with soap and water after taking out your mask.
For more information on mask hygiene and how to make masks, visit this link from CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
Crucial steps for fighting COVID-19 virus infection:
1. Stay at home and continue to isolate yourself from other humans.
2. Wear gloves when you go out so you do not pick up the virus in your hands and hence spread it by touching everything else around you including your face!!
3. Wear masks when you go out to minimize getting exposed to the virus around you and to stop yourself from touching your face.
4. WASH YOUR HANDS before and after wearing gloves and also before wearing mask and after taking out your mask.
Once again I can’t emphasize enough that in these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic stay at home, wash your hands, wear your gloves and wear your mask.
Homemade cotton cloth masks being made in Michigan by Taj Cottage (www.tajcottage.com)
Homemade cloth mask made by Satrangi in Ohio (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A great resource for making your own DIY Masks:
Dr. Maneesha Pandey is a licensed physician in Ohio and Michigan and works full time as a forensic pathologist in Ohio. https://theforensicpathologists.com/