Even before COVID-19 has turned the world upside down, patients with contagious respiratory diseases are already advised to wear a face mask to avoid transmitting the disease to other people.
Patients who are immunocompromised, or those with a weak immune system, also have to wear a face mask to avoid catching a respiratory disease from other people.
But with the new coronavirus, why do health authorities ask everyone to wear face masks regardless of their health status?
And how can wearing face masks save lives?
Types of Masks
These masks are made of non-woven fabric. They are loose-fitting, disposable, and designed to cover the mouth and nose of the wearer.
You can buy cloth masks or even sew one yourself. Ideally, cloth masks shouldn’t be made of stretchy knits. Cotton fabrics or linen can make good cloth masks. The fewer holes you see when you hold the fabric up to the light, the better filtration it has against droplets.
These masks are tight-fitting and can protect the wearer from droplets that are suspended in the air. Because of short supply, these are only recommended for health care workers and first responders.
Wearing masks in the time of COVID-19
COVID-19 has infected approximately 33 million people to date and killed a million people worldwide since the disease was identified last December 31, 2019. Based on these numbers, 3% of infected patients die.
The disease is transmitted from person to person through droplets. These droplets are produced when a person talks, coughs, or sneezes. The transmission usually occurs among people who are in close contact with each other, so you should stay at least 1 meter away from other people. If you are standing within 1 meter of a person, you might inhale droplets that may contain the virus.
But, physical distancing is not enough. And the reality is, it’s hard to maintain all the time. That’s why the general public is also encouraged to wear face masks to protect themselves and other people.
How face masks can reduce the spread of infection
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends the wearing of face masks in the following situations:
- in public places
- if you are around people who do not live in your house
- when you can’t maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others
Wearing face masks can effectively limit the spread of COVID-19 if worn correctly. The mask should be snug and fully cover the person’s mouth and nose. If it is a surgical mask, it should be disposed of properly after use. If it is a fabric mask, it should be washed with soap, detergent, and hot water at least once a day.
Even healthy people can be carriers, which means that they are infected but have no signs and symptoms. And even without symptoms, carriers can transmit the virus to other people. That’s why wearing face masks must be practiced by everyone, even if you are healthy and fit.
In essence, the purpose of all these measures is to protect yourself and other people, especially those who have other diseases, pregnant, and elderly, as they are the ones who are most vulnerable.
Masks with exhalation valve are no-nos
Although they are more comfortable, masks with exhalation valves only protect the wearer, but can still spread the infection to others through the valve.
Where to find COVID-19 testing near me
If you have had any of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, such as sore throat, cough, fever, chest pain, and shortness of breath during the past two weeks, we strongly recommend that you get yourself tested for COVID-19.
We offer both IgG antibody tests for immunity and nasopharyngeal swab tests in all of our locations. Please schedule an appointment with us through our telemedicine urgent care services or call us at 561-429-6109.
Keep your health in check in this challenging time
For your health concerns in the time of COVID-19, you may consult our physicians at Urgent Care of the Palm Beach Gardens through our telemedicine services. Our locations remain open seven days a week to deliver health services to our patients and the community:
Likewise, if you have any questions about COVID-19, feel free to contact our clinic. We are more than willing to answer any questions you might have about the disease.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.