Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force recently mentioned that wearing a face mask “shows respect for another person.”
The expert believes it is symbolic and said, “I want to protect myself and protect others, and also because I want to make it be a symbol for people to see that that’s the kind of thing you should be doing.”
He’s right. That is the kind of thing we should be doing. Wearing a mask should be understood as a form of respect. Wearing one not only symbolizes protection of your health and livelihood, but it also signifies respect for mankind.
After two months of lockdown, all 50 states have reopened, but not all are recovering. Recent reports show that 17 states have an increasing number of coronavirus cases. 17 states. Borders are not locked down, airports are not closed, and postal services remain operating, meaning every form of travel and export is accessible for carriers of the virus. A second wave of coronavirus is not inevitable.
However, there are precautions we can all take to ensure this doesn’t happen. First and foremost, if you’re feeling sick or showing symptoms of the virus, call your doctor and continue abstaining from social activities. Please, continue quarantining. Additionally, with the country reopening, public health officials have emphasized the significance of social distancing. That means, always staying at least six feet apart from another person. Lastly, WEAR A FACE MASK. Just because things are transitioning back to “normal”, does not mean that things are actually back to normal. Not at all. There is still a virus alive, active and contractable. And, unfortunately there is no cure yet. So, with that said, it is extremely essential to stay protected during this time.
What does ‘stay protected’ mean? It includes various factors beyond simply covering your face. There are many things to consider regarding how you wear it and what you should or shouldn’t be doing before, during and after you wear it.
According to the CDC, if you are wearing your face mask correctly it should do the following:
- Snugly, but comfortably fit your face
- Be secured around your ear with ties or ear loops
- Have multiple layers of fabric
- Not restrict your breathing
- Should not be destroyed or reshaped when undergoing the washing and drying process
- Cover your nose and mouth without any gaps between your face and the mask.
It is also important to note that you should not touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing the face mask. Once you do, be sure to wash your hands immediately after removing it.
The World Health Organization advises the following:
- Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub before putting on a mask.
- Make sure your mouth and nose are covered entirely and that there are no gaps between your face and the mask. After putting it on, you can blow into the mask while feeling with your hands if there is any air leakage.
- If you need to touch your mask while using it, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub. However, it is best to avoid touching your mask all together while using it.
- Do not re-use single-use masks. Replace it with a new one if it gets damp.
- When removing the mask, be sure NOT to touch the front of the mask and instead remove it from behind. Wash your hands thoroughly after discarding it.
Many people run into the issue of foggy glasses while wearing the face mask. According to research published in the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2011, washing your glasses with soapy water, without rinsing, and letting them air dry before putting them on reduces the amount of fogging in the glasses while wearing the mask.
Another resolution is folding and placing a tissue underneath your glasses, on the bridge of your nose. The tissue reduces the condensation by absorbing the moisture that comes from your breath.
As previously mentioned, there are several things we can do to prevent a second wave of coronavirus, but it all begins with you; how you choose to social distance and stay protected.