During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, masks have started to play a significant role in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Though research on effectiveness is constantly ongoing, the CDC recommends anyone ages 2 and up wears a mask to help prevent future infection.
- Prevent Infected People from Spreading the Virus
- Be Effective Protection When Social Distancing is not Possible
- Prevent Respiratory Droplets from Traveling in the Air
- Reduce Your Own Chance of Catching COVID-19
However, we understand that not everyone feels comfortable wearing a mask. But maybe you are wondering how wearing a mask can actually benefit you, as well as those around you.
WEARING A MASK CAN:
1. Prevent Infected People from Spreading the Virus
Evidence has shown for those who are currently infected, wearing a mask greatly reduces your risk to spread the virus to others. And since roughly 40% of those infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, facial coverings can help prevent further spread of the virus when you are unaware you even have it.
2. Offer Effective Protection When Social Distancing is not Possible
Though it is recommended to stay 6 feet apart from others, it is not always possible to remain social distancing. Maybe your job requires you to be in closer contact, or maybe you are traveling – in these cases, it’s best to wear a mask to reduce the risk of COVID-19. But even in these times, it is still highly recommended to wash your hands frequently, disinfect touched surfaces, and avoid touching your face.
3. Prevent Respiratory Droplets from Traveling in the Air
By exhaled breathing, sneezing, coughing, or even talking – we are releasing respiratory droplets into the air that land on other people. The person releasing the droplets will release fewer particles in the air if they are wearing a mask since the droplets are being trapped by the mask itself. A mask also helps the wearer avoid inhaling germs released by those droplets from others, because of the barrier the mask provides. The thicker the mask, the better the protection!
4. Reduce Your Own Chances of Catching COVID-19
In recent studies by the scientific journal, The Lancet, they discovered wearing a mask could reduce transmission of COVID-19 from 17% to 3%. So, if you choose to wear a mask, you are being less exposed to the virus – meaning, less coming in from others. By wearing a mask, not only can you help prevent yourself from becoming infected, but you also have a lesser chance of developing severe symptoms if you do become sick from the virus.
While wearing a mask does not warrant complete protection – masks, combined with other preventative measures, significantly reduces your risk of infection and helps slow the spread of COVID-19. It has also been found to be more effective than not wearing anything at all.
We highly encourage those who feel comfortable, to wear a mask when around others who do not live in your household. We especially recommend people over the age of 65 or anyone with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease to wear a mask and continue practice social distancing – as these people are at risk of severe illness.
All in all, any mask is better than none. It’s an inexpensive measure that can have a substantial impact on those around you, and the health of your community.
To better protect our patients and staff, all ELFP employees are required to wear a mask while in clinical offices.