It’s almost impossible to step outside and not see people wearing masks because of the coronavirus. Some are even taking mask wearing to the next level with patterns and designs as a fashion accessory. Masks are just one of the many safety measures helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but several misconceptions have sprung up about their use. We’re here to bust the ten most common myths related to face mask wearing.
I’m Not Worried About Getting Sick, So I Don’t Need to Wear a Face Mask
Boy do we have news for you. Mask wearing performs two critical roles in protecting against disease. One of them is to keep airborne germs out. The other is to keep germs in. The coronavirus particles can live in your system for a long time before symptoms actually show up, meaning it’s highly possible to spread the disease even when you aren’t feeling sick. Masks help protect surrounding people if you already have the disease, but you haven’t yet developed any symptoms.
Restrictions are Easing, so We Don’t Need Face Masks Anymore
Without a vaccine, there’s always the risk that there will be more outbreaks of the disease. We must continue to be vigilant and take steps to protect against further spread of the virus. Simple everyday practices such as washing hands more frequently and taking a shower with antibacterial soap immediately upon returning from outdoor activities should be adopted.
You Breathe in Too Much Carbon Dioxide When Wearing a Face Mask
The World Health Organization (WHO) tells us that prolonged wearing of masks can be uncomfortable, but you won’t get carbon dioxide intoxication (also known as hypercapnia) through extended use. Doctors and nurses regularly wear masks all day, often for several hours at a time.
I Don’t Need to Social Distance When Wearing a Mask
Many strategies are being implemented to stop the disease’s spread, with mask-wearing being just one of them. Even with a mask, keeping your distance is an extra layer of protection and still a good idea.
Masks are Only Effective Inside
This one is partly correct. You don’t need a mask for swimming, bike riding, hiking, playing tennis, and running. However, there will be times you will be in proximity to others who are not from your household. In these instances, you should make sure you have a mask available.
Face Masks Weaken the Immune System
Face masks can only contribute to transmission if the mask is worn incorrectly, people become less vigilant about other precautions when wearing them, or when proper hand hygiene is not followed after touching a contaminated mask. Other than that, masks have no bearing on how well your immune system is functioning.
Loose Fitting Face Masks Work Just as Well
No, they don’t. According to the CDC, a mask must fit snugly to your face’s sides and completely cover your nose and mouth to contain respiratory droplets. However, you should ensure your breathing is not restricted when wearing one.
Masks Stop You From Getting Coronavirus
Technically, there is currently no evidence to support this claim. Masks are basically a deterrent to help prevent the spread of airborne particles from entering your nasal cavities. However, as a preventative tool, the more people use masks in the correct manner, the more they can help stop the spread.
Babies Should Wear Face Masks
The CDC tells us that infants under two should not wear a mask. Other situations where masks should not be used on children and adults alike include trouble breathing, unconsciousness, inability to remove a mask on your own, or otherwise incapacitated.
You Don’t Need to Wash Face Masks Every Day
The coronavirus can survive for several days on all types of clothing and material, including masks. You definitely have to wash your masks every day, and regular laundry detergent in your washing machine is all you need to clean it.
Header image by Olga Vitvitskaia, 123RF.
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