Your Guide On When To Use a Mask

There's a vaccine out there now. Do we still have to mask up?

With good progress in the fight against COVID-19, caution prevails. Masks are necessary for the trend in curbing the spread, says the Center for Disease Control. In places where other social-distancing measures aren't easy, especially, masks remain the best option. 

This includes:

  • Busy streets and sidewalks
  • Crowded neighborhoods
  • Grocery stores
  • Outdoor youth sporting events
  • Pharmacies
  • Restaurants

Refer to local laws, too. Areas can differ from town to town on mandatory mask regulations.

Why wear a mask in the first place?

Wearing a mask limits exposure to respiratory droplets and large particles. We emit these when coughing, sneezing, and, sometimes, speaking. And they could contain the COVID-19 virus. If you have coronavirus, this will help prevent you from spreading it to others.

But is it enough to wear one if I am trying to not get sick?

Wearing a mask and social distancing helps, for sure. It'll limit your exposure if you don't have it. Getting the vaccine is another measure of prevention. A vaccine's job is to work with your immune system to ready it for a fight if you're exposed to the virus. 

Should everyone mask up, then?

Almost. The CDC doesn't recommend children age 2 and younger wearing masks. Also, if you have trouble breathing or are unconscious, or otherwise incapacitated. If you can't remove a mask without help, you shouldn't be wearing one.

Which masks should I wear?

Medical-procedure masks work well for community use. For instance, if you're ... 

  • Talking with neighbors outside, at least 6 feet apart
  • Visiting a park, at least 6 feet from those who don't live with you

Sometimes, you're in close contact with those who don't live with you. Disposable masks will afford you some protection in those situations. Those that fit best and have optimal filtration are your best choices.

Situations in which a quality medical-procedure mask is the prudent choice include:

  • Shopping
  • Doctor's visits
  • Working*

*In retail and other sectors, it's inevitable you'll spend time less than 6 feet from someone you don't live with. A good disposable mask can give you a considerable level of protection if it’s well-fitting and in good condition.

Oops! I touched my mask by accident. What should I do?

No need to replace a mask if you've touched it with your hands. Be sure to wash and sanitize your hands afterward, though. Particles containing coronavirus could have been on the mask.

How do I know when to use a mask?

Masks are part of a strategy to suppress transmission. The World Health Organization says other components are critical to protecting against COVID-19. What's the coronavirus status in your workplace and community? Stay in the know, and take extra precautions:

  • Avoid crowds
  • Clean your hands
  • Cough into a bent elbow or tissue
  • Keep rooms well-ventilated

Finally, be sure to keep a supply of quality masks in your personal and work bags, cars, and other places of convenience.

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