We're told to wear masks. How do we do it safely and properly?

Posted by jerrynord @jerrynord, Apr 23 11:43am

We are told not to touch our mouth, nose or eyes to prevent getting the virus.
If you can get the virus through your eyes, what good is wearing the mask?

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@sueinmn

@jerrynord There are two reasons to wear a mask –
First, as you may have heard, anyone, whether symptomatic or not, can have this virus and spread it through droplets from their nose and mouth to others. Not just through coughing or sneezing, which really spray it to to wider area, but simply by exhaling as well. Wearing the mask as recommended protects others.
Second, when it comes to getting infected, the total amount of virus exposure and where it lands on you are both factors. The corona viruses are known to be able to attach to mucus membranes and the lungs. It is possible to get a virus through your eyes however, they are a much smaller target than the entire respiratory system, and a significant number of droplets would have to get right into your eyes to infect you, so less risk of infection there. I suppose if someone sneezed right into your face there would be heightened risk of transmission through the eyes.
So the key reason behind personal protection (the mask) plus increased social distancing, cleaning frequently touched surfaces, rigorous hand washing, and keeping hands off the face is to limit the amount of the virus that gets into the body and thereby reduce the likelihood of infection.
As a side note, the reason there is such a furor about the lack of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care providers and other front line personnel is that the TOTAL VIRAL LOAD they face day after day is what is causing so many to become so ill. That is why it is so important to also protect workers like those in the grocery store by keeping a safe distance – to minimize their risk. And why it is important to insist that medical workers be protected with proper attire.
Sue

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@sueinmn, Thank you for these very concise and thorough answers. Great choice of layman words with a readable style. Chris

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@fair2all

As a society here in the US we are not used to wear face masks, as many other nations mostly in the Far East have always been doing, when they have an upper respiratory issue, and they want to avoid spreading it to people around.

This Pandemic will teach us for now, and most probably in the future, the need to wear those masks when having symptoms, mostly as a social consideration.

For now, we have to realize that if we want to be able to reduce the risk of the viral spread, and to slowly plan an exit, wearing masks is absolutely necessary.

There are to kind of masks, masks that most people need to wear when in public, to protect others, and medical masks, that are meant to protect those in the frontline that have to protect themselves, and those they treat that might not have the virus.
The Medical providers should of course be in priority for using the Medical protective masks, but in my humble opinion as a care giver to a very vulnerable person, I would include in the group with the need of a Medical masks, also people with chronic health conditions, the elderly, and the most at risk, that while they should practice complete social distancing and staying home, but if they have no choice, and need to go out, medical masks will protect them as well.

Medical masks are masks that are considered N95 or N99, and that means that they can block 95% and more of the virus from getting into the respiratory system. All other masks either purchased or home made, while not completely protecting the person that wears it, is meant to protect people around us, and mainly stops the droplets coming out of our mouth and nose, while talking or coughing, and stops those droplets from getting into the breathing air of people around us.

We should also remember that our eyes, are not covered by the mask, and they are also a port of entry for the virus. Therefore those that need a Medical masks, need some sort of eyes cover like goggles or plastic shields, for more complete protection from others.

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I am glad you pointed out the fact about getting the virus through your eyes. Never hear mention of this in the news. Even the CDC and WHO avoid telling anyone.

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@merpreb

@lioness– Are you inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth?

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@merpreb Yes of course but exhale downward so I wont inhale the Co2

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@jerrynord

I am glad you pointed out the fact about getting the virus through your eyes. Never hear mention of this in the news. Even the CDC and WHO avoid telling anyone.

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@fair2all and @jerrynord, I appreciated the need for eye protection needed and wonder why it hasn't been given broader public attention and caution.

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Even to wear something to prevent one from rubbing their eyes, which I have a hard time reminding myself to not do.

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@fiesty76

@fair2all and @jerrynord, I appreciated the need for eye protection needed and wonder why it hasn't been given broader public attention and caution.

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@fiesty76– This is only a guess but I think that so many people were resisting wearing masks that that is where all the attention has been. Masks also have been noted many times to help you remember not to touch your mouth, nose, and eyes. I have seen many videos where people and medical professionals are wearing face shields. This is a great point @fiesty because it reminds up to really be careful with COVID-19 in protecting ourselves regardless of how much attention one thing is getting over another.

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@merpreb

@fiesty76– This is only a guess but I think that so many people were resisting wearing masks that that is where all the attention has been. Masks also have been noted many times to help you remember not to touch your mouth, nose, and eyes. I have seen many videos where people and medical professionals are wearing face shields. This is a great point @fiesty because it reminds up to really be careful with COVID-19 in protecting ourselves regardless of how much attention one thing is getting over another.

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@merpreb @fiesty76. There are many YouTube videos on how to make face shields, even from a Doctor George Yang. If you are good at sewing, you can make them quite easily. I wear glasses, and I hope this adds another layer of protection. At this point, I just want to be safe, if I look strange wearing masks and glasses to some, it's their problem, not mine. I've kicked vanity to the curb.

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@mayofeb2020

@merpreb @fiesty76. There are many YouTube videos on how to make face shields, even from a Doctor George Yang. If you are good at sewing, you can make them quite easily. I wear glasses, and I hope this adds another layer of protection. At this point, I just want to be safe, if I look strange wearing masks and glasses to some, it's their problem, not mine. I've kicked vanity to the curb.

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@mayofeb2020 I used to feel odd when flying and wearing a face mask but now some airlines are requiring them. I read this morning that JetBlue is and I believe another airline is also, maybe American. They are also selling fewer tickets so that there can be some distancing within the plane.
JK

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