Common Face Mask Misconceptions

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With an array of misconceptions regarding face mask use floating around, it is important to differentiate facts from fiction. Below are some common fallacies you should avoid believing. 

  • “COVID-19 is just a hoax and the government just wants to scare you” 
    • FACT: A 30-year-old man in San Antonio recently died from COVID-19 after attending a ‘COVID party’ where the goal was to try and contract the virus to see if it is real or a scam. Just before he died, he told his nurse “I thought it was a hoax but it’s not.” Unfortunately, his story has been lived by many. Celebrities and politicians who once doubted the severity of the virus have come to contract it themselves, publicly admitting their ignorance and advocating for the use of face masks. With this barrier, the risk of transmission is extremely low.  
  • “Masks are unconstitutional” 
    • FACT: Protecting others from yourself and yourself from others sounds seemingly constitutional. During a global pandemic, the practice exhibits the most basic form of respect, for yourself and others. Whether you believe in it or not, the livelihood of those around you should matter enough to take the simplest precaution of wearing a mask.   
  • “I won’t be able to breathe when I wear a mask” 
    • FACT: Masks have been around since the 17th century, so this isn’t a new thing. For decades, healthcare workers have used masks regularly. Surgeons wear them for extended periods of time (up to 12 hours in a day) but don’t get sick or die. If you feel like it’s a struggle to breathe in a face mask, you should practice wearing it for short periods and then gradually increase the duration.  
  • “You only need to wear a mask when you’re around a crowd of people, like at protests” 
    • FACT: Wrong. If you leave home, you should always wear a mask. You should wear it in all public spaces including grocery stores, gyms, theaters, healthcare offices, restaurants, public transportation, etc.  
  • “Wearing a mask will weaken my immune system” 
    • FACT: If surgeons wear masks for hours on end, how are they still alive? If masks truly weakened immune systems, most might not be. There is no scientific evidence supporting the claim that masks weaken immune systems. Although a mask greatly reduces the amount of infectious droplets from entering your mouth or nose, it doesn’t at all prevent every microbe in the environment from entering your body.  
  • “I feel perfectly fine. I don’t need to wear a mask”  
    • FACT: Just because you don’t feel any symptoms doesn’t mean you haven’t contracted anything. If you’ve been exposed to the virus, it can take anywhere between 2-14 days before you develop any symptoms. According to the CDC, more than 40% of virus transmissions happen before people feel sick. Additionally, some people are asymptomatic and don’t feel any symptoms at all.  
  • “You need to replace your mask every day” 
    • FACT: You don’t need to replace your mask every day. Cloth face coverings can be washed and dried in machines. You can also hand wash it with hot water and soap then leave it to air dry.  
  • “You only need to wear it if you’re experiencing symptoms” 
    • FACT: Whether you’re experiencing symptoms or not, you should always wear your face mask around other people. Symptoms can take anywhere between 2-14 days to develop, so you may not know you have COVID-19 or the person next to you might not know they contracted it. If you’re not masked, you may expose yourself to the virus. If they’re not masked, they may release infectious droplets into the air you breathe. However, with a mask as a barrier this can all be avoided.
  • “You can get sick from breathing in too much of your own carbon dioxide” 
    • FACT: Mask wearing does not cause dioxide toxicity. Carbon dioxide does not build up in the mask, it passes through. If you’re feeling dizzy or lightheaded while wearing a mask, your body could be telling you it’s dehydrated.
  • “There is no scientific proof that masks actually work”
    • FACT: Many renowned physicians, scientists and healthcare professionals from all over the world have conclusively agreed that the use of face masks is beneficial. Data proves that the likelihood of transmitting the virus decreases significantly by wearing a mask. In the time of viral transmission, wearing a mask is paramount, and the scientific evidence supporting this claim is undoubtedly clear. 
  • “If I’m socially distancing, then I don’t need to wear a mask” 
    • FACT: Not true. If you are socially distancing, you should still also wear a mask. It’s not one or the other, it’s both. Protect yourself from others and protect others from you.  

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