Face coverings: To wear or not to wear?

In light of ongoing research regarding the transmission of novel coronavirus, COVID-19, the CDC has updated their recommendations concerning face masks. COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets through person to person contact. This means that an infected person can spread the virus through coughing, sneezing, and even talking. Several weeks ago, face-
coverings were recommended only for those who were exhibiting symptoms. Current guidelines now recommend cloth face-covering in public settings. In certain situations, it can be difficult to maintain social distancing, such as in the grocery store or pharmacy, in which case face-coverings become especially handy. These new recommendations stem from ongoing research
which has revealed that even asymptomatic individuals (people who ARE infected with the virus, but who are NOT showing any signs or symptoms) can spread the infection. The recommendation of reusable cloth face-coverings is in part to reserve surgical and N95 masks for healthcare workers who are in short supply. Cloth face-coverings can be made at home, inexpensively, with common household materials including scarves, bandanas, or a t-shirt. The
face-covering should cover the nose and mouth. Per the CDC, additional guidelines state that face-coverings should-

 fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
 be secured with ties or ear loops
 include multiple layers of fabric
 allow for breathing without restriction
 be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

Per the CDC, it is important to note that face-coverings “should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.” Wash hands before and after applying and removing your face covering. Remember, social distancing and hand washing remain key tools
to reducing the spread of infection. For more information please go to www.CDC.gov.

Kyra Farkas, PA-C

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