Please, please wear a face mask
A friend and retired medical professional whom I met through CMS recently contacted me to request that I share some helpful information regarding the subject of wearing masks. Please feel free to share.
When you leave home, always wear a face mask.
The COVID-19 virus spreads through aerosolized droplets which are inhaled. A cough, sneeze, or singing can propel droplets 27 feet. One sneeze carries 40,000 droplets. The virus can remain viable floating in the air for 3 or more hours. Lastly 1 in 4 persons infected has no symptoms and therefore do unintentionally spread the virus. Six feet of physical distance will not protect you.
Wearing a simple cloth face mask will confine a large number of droplets (from talking, a sneeze) within the mask. Those droplets that do escape will not be so widely disseminated. A cloth mask worn by a nearby person will further block droplets resulting in far fewer than 40,000 being inhaled.
Proper Wear and Care of a Face Mask
- Masks should cover from the bridge of your nose to below your chin.
- Wear a mask in all enclosed spaces away from your home. And, in any area outside where people are gathered (e.g. in a line outside a grocery store).
- Try not to touch the face portion of your mask. Only handle by the side straps.
- After each day of use, wash cloth masks with plain soap and water and heat dry. The virus is vulnerable to moisture and heat.
This pandemic began in South Korea around the same time as in the United States. South Korea immediately initiated wide spread testing (removing all positives to a safe location) and required everyone to wear masks. These actions contained the virus and minimized further spread. The epidemic in South Korea. is under control. Neither is being done in the United States.
There is much discussion about using medical grade N-95 masks. Health care workers in caring for these patients are being exposed to millions of droplets floating in the air. They absolutely must use high grade form fitted masks along with other equipment to hopefully prevent contact with the virus.
We the public do not need and should not purchase N-95 masks. Comparing our environment to that of a hospital room is like comparing apples to peas.
Each one of us could be one inhalation away from contracting this invisible deadly virus. Cloth masks do provide protection. Please, please, when out and about wear a mask. The life you save may be your own.
Still not convinced? A video is worth a thousand words – Watch until the end – no sound needed, unless you understand Japanese. The mask in the third example completely captured all of the larger droplets and minimized the aerosol dispersion.
DIY resources for Face Masks: