In the effort to help reinforce a mask-wearing mindset and habit, included here is information gleaned from sources available to anyone through TV, the internet and elsewhere (not personal medical advice—Disclaimer). Below you’ll find lots of handy downloads and selected links with content you may or may not have already seen, but could find useful to view again.
For sure, I’m not the only one trying to reinforce the importance of wearing masks; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo even ran a “Wear a Mask” commercial contest. And this must continue until vaccines have been administered to at least 75 – 85 % of the population.
During the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, studies have been done which show how highly effective the wearing of masks/face coverings are in the effort to prevent spreading the virus, not only for other people, but for the wearers. The reason being is because they reduce air flow (not oxygen intake) when worn properly, over both your nose and mouth, not one or the other, and sufficient materials serve as a barrier for droplets and aerosol particles. Various studies show the realities of how far droplets and aerosol particles travel, ranging from shallow breathing to loud talking to strong coughs and sneezes, with and without a mask, and coughing into your hand or elbow. The emissions range from about 6 inches up to 12 feet or more.
Though wearing masks/face coverings cannot guarantee 100% protection for the wearer and those within proximity, when worn properly can greatly diminish transmission both inhaling and exhaling. The more vigorously the body behaves in this respect, the more area can be contaminated, whether it is droplet spread on surfaces or aerosol particles that linger in the air.
In the monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal, Physics of Fluids, in respect to how far coughs travel, their findings speak for themselves (click on image to enlarge or download):
Bottom line is: the wearing of masks by people over the age of 2 (without conflicting mental or physical health conditions) would dramatically slow the spread of this virus. Many responsible people are complying, and we need children to be doing the same. Anyone of any age can be infected and, in turn, spread the virus, possibly to vulnerable people.
Mask wearing is important when in public when physical distancing is difficult or impossible outdoors. It becomes critically important when indoors; this includes stores, restaurants, classrooms and other places people gather. People may also consider wearing one at home/indoors when in close proximity to vulnerable individuals.
Some people reuse disposable surgical masks, but it is suggested that if a mask is wet or visibly soiled, it’s best to dispose of it. Health professionals suggest safe ways to handle masks that help reduce the risk of cross contamination, including when reusing surgical masks:
- it is important to perform hand hygiene before and after handling coverings, whether you use hand sanitizer or wash your hands thoroughly
- avoid touching the outside of the mask while wearing and when being removed; it is best to handle the ties or loops for removal from face and when retrieving it from its storage container
- a handy tip for surgical masks, especially if the inside and outside look the same, is to mark it in some way with your name, initials or symbol
- “clean” surgical masks, or cloth masks without filters should be folded in half with the outside “contaminated” surface folded inward to lessen the chance of contaminating the bag or other surfaces
- it is best not to store or place a mask/face covering in an “unclean” place like a pocket, purse, or unprotected place like a counter, shelf, furniture top, etc. Store in a clean, breathable container such as a closed paper bag so moisture can evaporate. (I have come to place my non-surgical, shaped, filtered mask in an open plastic container inside a closed paper bag, so the “contaminated” side of the mask is face down in the container, not touching the paper bag.)
LINKS you may find useful:
A resourceful doctor posted a YouTube video showing a very simple, ingenious way to make surgical masks much more effective for both the wearer and others, ultimately fitting like this rather than flat and more open on the sides:
MORE LINKS to COME (still gathering). Thanks for your patience!