MedWatch Today: How to Appropriately Wear a Mask to Prevent Spread of COVID-19

Med Watch Today

Cloth face coverings, or a mask, is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a simple barrier to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

There are various types of face coverings that people are encouraged to wear to prevent the spread of COVID-19. UCSF Fresno’s Dr. Kenny Banh is an emergency medicine physician at Community Regional Medical Center. He stresses, cloth face coverings, or a mask, greatly reduces the spread of COVID-19 transmission.

“Up to 80 to 90 percent, depending on the type of mask, I think wearing them is really, really important to protect not just yourself but others around you,” stated Dr. Banh.

He said those who don’t show symptoms, are referred to as asymptomatic and can still spread the Coronavirus. People who are medically vulnerable, like the elderly, young children, or people with pre-existing health conditions are at greater risk.

Dr. Banh continued, “Some people were talking about whether they need it or if they’re young and healthy, but understand that a lot of people may be asymptomatic so you may actually be infected and you may not feel anything.”

Any mask is better than none at all. Dr. Banh said these masks are for one time use.

“You can wear them once, you just go through a lot, so most people are doing what we call extended use, which means basically once you can use them until you see them get dirtied, tarnished, holes, breakdown, once you start seeing them break down, toss them,” said Dr. Banh.

He encourages people to wear handmade ones or cloth face coverings, just wash them daily. If you wear glasses, you can still comfortably wear a mask and prevent fogging up your lenses.

Dr. Banh illustrated, “Easy fix, make sure that you have a seal across the top, almost all the fog is coming up because you’re breathing and it’s shooting up, if you have enough space in the bottom, and you’re sealed across the top, it’ll prevent the fogging.”

So far, COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Dr. Banh said that’s why it’s crucial when wearing a face covering, to wear it correctly.

“Make sure your nose and your mouth are covered. I see a lot of people because of the heat walking around like this because they feel like they have trouble breathing, I know it can be uncomfortable but it’s important to keep this covered,” exclaimed the doctor.

Dr. Banh hopes these tips help and everyone complies with recommendations to wear a mask, not only for the health of themselves, but for others.

“It’s up to the public and that’s why the outbreak’s really coming up,” he ended.

The CDC does authorize some to not wear a cloth face covering. Those include children younger than two-years old, anyone who has medical trouble breathing, anyone who is unconscious or incapacitated, and anyone who is unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance. Though all should still practice social distancing and good hand hygiene.

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