Do I still need to wear a mask?

Dr. Warren Wong

Dr. Warren

 

I wrote a previous post about masks. This post is Part 2:
Do I still need to wear a mask? 

The use of a face mask has been a source of controversy. In February, few people were wearing masks, in March people were scrambling for masks.

Now, some areas are still mandating masks but in other areas masks are not being widely used. Be sure to follow the laws in  your community.

 

Who should continue to wear a mask?  Use this scale to rate your risk:

Should I Wear a Mask?

Please answer the following questions:

On a 0-2 point scale, is COVID-19 a major problem in your community?
On a 0-2 point scale, how much contact do you have with people?
On a 0-2 point scale, how often are you around other people who are frail, elderly or ill?
Are you frail, elderly or chronically ill?

 

What is the correct way to wear a face mask?

 

  • Always wash your hands before putting on a mask and after taking it off.
  • A mask has a top and a bottom and a front and a back. Wear it correctly. Don’t wear the mask inside out. For medical/surgical masks, the colored side is always on the outside.
  • Use the straps to put your mask on and off.
  • Make sure the mask is snug over your nose and under the chin. Some masks have nose bridges to help with fit.
  • Remove the mask by the straps
  • Wash reusable fabric masks frequently, especially if you have been around people.

 

 

What is the wrong way to wear a mask?

One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they fidget with their masks, and pull them under their noses or completely off their faces to rest under their chins. Many people touch the mask too often and fidget with it. Some people unhook the mask repeatedly to talk. These are all bad habits and potentially worse than not wearing a mask at all.

 

What is the right mask for me?

Masks vary in the amount of protection provided.  Most experts agree that any mask is better than no mask. Use a fabric mask if you are in the general public for activities such as going to the store or for short interactions with other people.

Use a medical/surgical mask if you have contact with people throughout the day or if you are providing hands-on caregiving.

Now is a good time to find a mask you like. Just like buying a pair of shoes, make sure the mask fits well, is comfortable and is safe. You will end up touching a mask frequently if it does not fit well.  Do not use a mask that makes it difficult for you to see well or that makes it difficult to breath.  If you use a fabric mask, pick one that you like, can identify as yours only and makes you happy.

 

Where should I use a mask?

Generally, you do not need to use a mask at home unless you are providing hands-on care to another person or you are having visitors. Outside the house, use the mask whenever people are close by. You do not need to wear a mask while driving a car alone unless you are going somewhere where you interact with people.

 

WHEN should you use a mask?

Wear your mask when you are around people you do not live with. Also wear a mask when you are providing hands-on care to another person.

Most people do not need to wear a mask all day long.  You cannot wear a mask and eat. Take it off when you are not around other people.  However, avoid touching the mask or taking it on/off frequently.

We prepared a handy 2 page pdf for you with information on How to wear your mask (click to download).

We will soon have a video post by Dorothy Colby, a dementia care expert.  She answers the question: "Does a person with dementia need to wear a mask?"

Stay connected, be strong


Dr. Warren

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