Face masks have become central to our living. The growing importance of these life-saving accessories has also spurred myths and misinformation. We rounded up the most persistent false claims surrounding face masks. From when to wear them to how to wash, these myths cover a broad spectrum. Even face mask manufacturers and health officials are having a hard time fighting these myths. Here are the seven most common false claims about face masks.
Myth 1: If you’re not sick, don’t wear a face mask
This was a common guideline in the early days of the pandemic. But it’s not advisable or true anymore. As scientists learn more and more about how the virus spreads, safety guidelines are becoming more comprehensive. For instance, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) has revised its guidelines about face coverings. In keeping with these guidelines, personal protective equipment manufacturers, too, have redesigned their campaigns.
The CDC recommends wearing face masks to everyone going out in public places. In other words, people who feel absolutely healthy should also wear a face mask. Since the virus can transmit very easily through respiratory droplets, face masks create a protective layer against the virus particles. That means it protects the wearer from possible exposures.
Myth 2: Face masks are a substitute for social distancing
Some mythmakers would tell you that since a face mask protects you from the virus, you don’t need to worry about getting closer to people. They couldn’t be more wrong. Face masks are by no means a substitute for physical distancing. Numerous studies have concluded that staying at least six feet apart from others dramatically reduces the risks of contracting the virus.
Since the virus mainly spreads through respiratory droplets, simple face masks cannot filter tiny virus particles from the air. It is now globally accepted among health experts that even asymptomatic people can spread the virus. So, there’s no way of knowing who a potential source could be. Hence both face masks and physical distancing are equally important when it comes to slowing down the spread.
Myth 3: Cloth face coverings protect you from the coronavirus
As public health experts put it: cloth face coverings are just better than having no face covering at all. They may reduce the risks of getting infected. But cloth face masks are by no means as efficient as surgical or other medical-grade masks. What seems to be likelier is that cloth face coverings help prevent an infected person from spreading the disease. But they are less likely to protect the wearer from infected individuals.
Surgical masks and N95 respirators are the best tools for protecting yourself against the tiny virus particles. Face mask manufacturers are continually improving the design and structure to make the mask-wearing experience safer and more convenient.
Myth 4: Only an N95 mask will work
N95 masks, also known as N95 respirators or simply N95s, are designed to block 95% of very small particles from entering your respiratory system. While surgical masks and N95s are functionally different, both provide significant protection against the coronavirus. However, wearing a cloth face mask should always be combined with other measures like social distancing and handwashing.
Since N95 respirators are in short supply, it’s your duty as a responsible American citizen to save them for the front-line workers. CDC suggests using cloth and surgical face masks if you don’t work in a high-risk environment.
Myth 5: You don’t need to wash a cloth face mask after each use
Washing your face covering after each use may seem mundane and inconvenient task. That’s why this myth is so commonly believed. CDC recommends washing your face covering after every use. You could launder them in the washing machine or wash them by hand. Make sure that you dry the masks in high temperatures or direct sunlight. If you want to reuse a disposable mask, let it sit for 10-14 days before using it again. It allows potential virus particles to die out.
Myth 6: Face masks can actually make you more susceptible
False claim makers would enthusiastically tell you how touching and adjusting your face mask makes you more susceptible. While it’s true that mask wearers tend to constantly touch and adjust their face coverings, the risks are much higher when you don’t wear a mask. Besides, the risks from touching a face mask can be reduced by regular handwashing.
If you wear the right face mask with safety measures, there’s no way it can make you more susceptible to the virus.
Myth 7: Any mask you can find or make will just do fine
The most important thing to consider while finding a mask is to look for one that fits well without gapping. You should also consider how comfortable you feel while wearing the mask. It should also fit your personal style. While PPE suppliers in the USA make a wide variety of masks, you should spend some time before picking one.
If you choose to make a cloth face mask at home, there numerous step-by-step videos available online. Cloth face masks are usually easy to make. You can use household items to make a cloth face covering. But make sure that the mask contains multiple fabric layers to provide optimal protection. You can find guidelines for making home-made masks on the CDC’s website.
Knowing these facts will help you to effectively avoid the risks of contracting the virus. Scientists are still in the early stages of learning how exactly the virus spread and attack our body. Staying informed is the only to fight this pandemic. Wear a facemask, maintain physical distancing, and wash your hands regularly. These practices should always be on the top of your mind when it comes to slowing down the spread.
Co-Defend is one of the most trusted bulk PPE suppliers in the USA. We are committed to helping the country win this unprecedented war against a deadly virus. You can explore a wide range of medical supply and personal protective equipment on our website.
Q. What factors should I consider when choosing a mask?
The most important thing to consider while finding a mask is to look for one that fits well without gaping. You should also consider how comfortable you feel while wearing the mask. Find a mask that matches your personal style.
Q. How does the coronavirus spread?
The coronavirus spread between people via tiny respiratory droplets. It could spread through the air or via contaminated surfaces. These droplets can be expelled into the air primarily through coughing or sneezing.
Q. Why does standing six feet away from others help?
The coronavirus spreads mainly through droplets from the mouth and nose, especially when the person coughs or sneezes. The C.D.C. bases its recommendation of six feet on the idea that most large droplets that people expel when they cough or sneeze will fall to the ground within six feet. That’s why physical distancing dramatically slows down the spread.