April 25, 2020

Should I Be Wearing a Face Mask? Experts Weigh In

As of Friday, July 10 at 5:00 p.m., Governor Andy Beshear announced a mandate that will require everyone to wear masks in Kentucky’s public spaces. Masks are mandatory in places like retail stores, restaurants, gyms, government buildings and any outdoor spaces where people are unable to stay six feet apart.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone wear a face mask in public to help prevent spreading COVID-19. The CDC is also recommending that the public make homemade cloth face coverings to help keep the supply of surgical and N-95 masks for healthcare workers, first responders, and other professionals who need them. 

Why Do I Need to Wear a Face Mask?

We now know that a significant number of people who have the coronavirus are asymptomatic and others who are pre-symptomatic can transmit the virus without knowing that they’re infected. For these reasons, the CDC is recommending that people wear face masks in public settings to help prevent spreading the coronavirus to others. This is especially true for those who live in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How Do I Make a Homemade Face Mask?

To make a cloth face mask at home, you can use old t-shirts, bandanas, scarves, or other fabric you have available. According to the CDC, your homemade face mask should:

  • Fit snugly, but comfortably, against the sides of your face
  • Be secured around your ears with some sort of tie or loop
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow you to breathe comfortably
  • Be machine washable without losing its shape

Dr. Jerome Adams, the US Surgeon General, shows you an easy and effective way to make a homemade face mask in this video. There are also many types of non-surgical or medical professional face masks available online.

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When Should I Wear a Face Mask?

Whenever you’re out in public, especially when you’re in places where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores or pharmacies, you should wear a face mask to help prevent you from spreading or contracting the coronavirus. 

Wearing a face mask offers a layer of protection, but it’s still important to maintain social distancing of at least six feet between others when you’re out in public. Here are some other guidelines from the CDC regarding face masks:

  • In addition to social distancing, make sure to keep up other COVID-19 prevention tactics, such as regularly washing your hands and sanitizing high-touch surfaces.
  • Don’t place face masks on children under the age of two, people with breathing difficulties, or someone who’s unconscious or incapacitated.
  • Use cloth face masks instead of surgical masks or N-95 respirators because those are desperately needed for healthcare workers, first responders, and other professionals.
  • Wash your face mask routinely after going out in public.
  • When removing your face mask, don’t touch your face, eyes, or nose and wash your hands immediately after taking your mask off. 

More Questions About COVID-19?

If you have more questions or concerns about COVID-19, go to BaptistHealth.com or visit other reputable sites, such as World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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