The Best Way to Wear a Face Mask | COVID-19

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To mask or not to mask? For a while, it really wasn’t a question, as stores, coffee shops, and even hiking trails required protective face covering to prevent the spread of Covvid-19. But now that some locations and situations make mask-wearing a little less than mandatory, you may be wondering: When should I wear one, and do they work? And could wearing a mask for too long be dangerous? 

The conversation began in February, when widespread shortages of N95 respirators and surgical masks for healthcare workers were recognized. That broad gap between supply and demand initially raised questions about who needs masks, and whether they’re even the most effective way to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) initially emphasized that washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face—especially your eyes, nose and mouth—with unwashed hands was one of the most important actions you could take. The World Health Organization (WHO) further noted that wearing masks can create a false sense of security, leading people to neglect important preventive measures like hand hygiene, physical distancing and avoiding touching your face. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, also notes that wearing a mask improperly can increase your risk of infection; if you’re not used to wearing one, it’s likely you’ll touch your face more frequently—especially if a mask doesn’t fit right and you’re constantly adjusting it. Additionally, cloth masks don’t protect you from respiratory droplets that carry a virus; they’re too loose, have no air filter and leave the eyes exposed.





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