We learn something new every day about the coronavirus. However, it is getting harder and harder for us to follow new facts and suggestions. This includes why, when and how we should wear masks. “Are masks really protective? What kind of mask should we wear?” Questions like these can be confusing. It is also useful to correct some misunderstandings as this process continues.
False: There is no need to pay attention to social distance while wearing a mask.
“Wearing a mask prevents the virus from spreading so I don’t have to hesitate when approaching other people.”
Right: The US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control recommends wearing masks to prevent the spread of the virus from people who have COVID-19 but are unaware of it. However, wearing a mask does not replace social distancing. Keeping a distance of 1.5-2 meters from other people in the community is still the most important point to prevent the spread of the virus. This is because the virus is mostly spread at close range by respiratory droplets, and simple masks cannot effectively filter small virus particles emitted from droplets or the air you breathe.
COVID-19 can also be spread through the air, but this is more likely to occur in confined spaces where infected respiratory droplets from an infected person can accumulate. To reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, closed areas with too many people and poor ventilation should be avoided.
It is also useful to keep in mind that patients who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 but show no or very few symptoms can spread the virus to people they are in close contact with, especially by talking, coughing or sneezing.
False: The mask makes me more susceptible to COVID-19.
“People wearing masks often touch their faces to fix their masks, which increases the risk of contracting the virus”
Right: It’s true that people who wear masks tend to touch their faces more than those who don’t – which paradoxically increases the risk of becoming infected. But you can reduce this risk by washing your hands frequently, learning to put on and taking off your mask correctly, and avoid touching the outer surface of the mask.
False: Only N95 type masks are effective against the virus.
“N95 type masks prevent the person wearing the mask from contracting the virus, while surgical or fabric masks prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading the virus.”
Right: N95 type masks, a type of respirator, are designed to block 95% of even the smallest particles. Although fabric masks and N95 masks have different purposes, both aim to slow the spread of COVID-19. In addition to wearing a mask, it should not be overlooked that it is very important to wash hands frequently and pay attention to social distance. It is also worth remembering that surgical and N95 masks are mostly for the use of healthcare professionals and you should not consume stocks unconsciously.
False: I don’t need to wash my mask after every use.
“Washing cloth masks after each use is a waste of time and is not correct. Therefore, I use my mask several times before washing it”
Right: According to the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, fabric masks should be washed after each use, and it is okay to machine wash the masks with other laundry. During washing, care should be taken to ensure that the water setting is at the warmest. You can wash your masks with a mixture of 1 liter of water – 4 teaspoons of bleach if you have them. When drying masks, let the dryer set to its highest setting or, if possible, allow it to dry by direct exposure to sunlight. If you have a disposable mask, keep your mask for 10-14 and let it die if there is a virus on it.
False: Any mask I get, or masks I made myself, will work.
“Anything that covers my nose and mouth, no matter what it’s made of, will prevent me from spreading the virus to other people”
Right: Cloth masks are generally easy to make and can be made at home with low cost supplies. However, fabric masks should contain several layers of fabric to provide the best protection.
False: Wearing a mask makes me sick.
“The masks cause a buildup of carbon dioxide, which makes it hard to breathe and makes me sick”
Right: Most people have heard that inhaling carbon dioxide from wearing a mask can cause dizziness, fainting sensations, headaches, and shortness of breath. However, apart from healthcare workers, most people don’t have any complaints other than a mild headache, as they wear masks for a short time. In addition, you should keep in mind that when a mask starts to become moist (possibly due to breathing) it starts to lose its effect and needs to be washed or replaced.
False: Wearing a mask indicates that I am afraid or weak.
“The fact that I am wearing a mask is a sign that I am infected”
Right: Wearing a mask simply shows that you understand the nature and risks of a highly contagious virus and that you care about the health of yourself and those around you.
Translated from the English original: Dilara Koru
Kaynak: Healthgrades. Fishman, Susan. 7 Myths and Facts About Face Masks. Şuradan alındı: https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/coronavirus/7-myths-and-facts-about-face-masks