July 20, 2020 - 3 min read
Mask-wearing can help slow COVID-19 and hasten the return to work
Clearing up misconceptions about wearing face coverings in public and at work
With all the discussion about face coverings these days, it’s easy to lose track of a simple truth: wearing a mask is among the most effective things people can do to slow the spread of COVID-19. That’s why Blue Shield has decided to launch our new Wear a Mask campaign. Whether you’re a doctor or nurse, executive or employee, cashier or customer, we all have a responsibility to help slow the spread of COVID and COVID-related misinformation.
Blue Shield’s top physician, Dr. Terry Gilliland, offers the following reasons to wear a mask, as well as address some myths surrounding their use.
Masks work – Several recent studies have shown that wearing a mask can prevent droplets from escaping your nose and mouth, and therefore help slow the spread of COVID-19 – especially inside a place of business where it can be harder to maintain a 6-foot distance between co-workers or employees and customers.
Masks keep customers and co-workers safe – We now know that the two days before we start feeling COVID-19 symptoms are some of the most infectious, because we can spread the virus and not know it. Everyone from an elderly friend or family member to a young, healthy co-worker can contract COVID-19. One recent study found that nearly half (up to 45 percent) of COVID-19 infections may be asymptomatic. This is why wearing a mask, even as a precautionary measure, is so important.
Masks encourage good hygiene – We touch our faces so much that we’re often unaware of just how much we do it. As it turns out, wearing a mask in public and at work discourages us from touching our face, helping protect us against another potential source of infection: our hands. By making a habit of wearing a mask and then washing your hands before removing it, you’ll limit your chances of catching the virus.
Masks help slow the spread – COVID-19 is not going away, so we have to adapt. Until a vaccine is approved and made widely available, masks and social distancing are the only way for us to reopen our businesses and go about our lives without causing an upswing in infections.
Masks save lives – Over 130,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, which means it’s now more deadly than the flu and diabetes. If we don’t do everything we can to slow the spread of the virus, it could end up being the top cause of death this year. So whether you’re waiting in line, using public transit, or at work, remember that wearing a mask is one of the most effective things you can do to help stop the spread.
Top 3 myths about masks:
Myth: Masks cause carbon dioxide poisoning.
Wearing a mask for short periods of time is safe for most people. People who have pre-existing breathing problems, those who can’t remove their mask themselves, and children under the age of 2 should not wear masks. But for most of us, wearing a mask poses no risk. In fact, many doctors, nurses, and construction workers (to name a few) regularly wear masks with no ill effects. If you have concerns about wearing a mask, speak to your doctor.
Myth: Masks must be medical grade to be effective.
Cloth face coverings (like bandanas and even folded t-shirts) have proven to be effective barriers when it comes to reducing the spread of droplets from your nose and mouth.
Myth: Masks completely protect from infection.
Wearing a mask won’t protect you from infection, but it will help reduce the chances of you infecting others. On the flip side, this means that the more people wear masks, the safer you will be as well. This is why encouraging employees, co-workers, and customers to wear face masks is important.
We’re all in this together. If everyone who can wear a face mask does, we stand a better chance of slowing the spread of COVID-19. On top of that, it’s important that we continue to wash our hands, practice social distancing, and follow other health authority recommendations. By working together, we can better protect ourselves and the people around us.
This article was originally published on Blue Shield’s News Center. For this and more, visit news.blueshieldca.com.
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