Public cooperation is critical for widespread reopening.
Written by Jill Biggins Gerbracht | Photographed by Vincent Rios
Our nation and our community seem to be in widespread debate over the wearing
of masks to help manage the spread of COVID-19. By working together, we
can help fight the spread and stay healthy.
What is the risk to you and what is the risk to somebody else, you might
ask? One simple combination—wearing a face covering while maintaining
safe physical distancing—can protect people you encounter, some
whose medical history may make them more susceptible to COVID-19. At the
same time, thisprotects you if you come in contact with someone infected.
Here are some things to consider in the mask-wearing dilemma.
Facts about wearing a face mask:
- You are benefitting others.
- You are serving as a role model. The more people we see wearing masks,
the more normal it soon becomes.
- You are helping reduce the spread of COVID-19 in public settings.
Positive effects of wearing a face mask:
- Positive reinforcement is a powerful thing. Give someone a thumbs-up or
a shout-out for doing the right thing when you see them wearing a mask
- Compliment a stylish or eye-catching design with a “nice mask” comment.
- Make them a fun accessory, like a pair of sunglasses or a hat.
Mask fun facts and ideas:
- While they are new to us, face masks have been around for a long time.
In 1918, during the Spanish Flu epidemic, advanced masks such as N95s
worn by health care workers today were a long way off. Surgical masks
and general population flu masks were primarily made of gauze.
- Be creative with your masks. Sew them yourself or have some made of a favorite
fabric or designer pattern.
- Make them a fashionable and fun way to accessorize. With a wide variety
of styles and designs to choose from, in addition to being protective,
masks are becoming something of a fashion statement.
- Show your team or school spirit by donning a mask with a trademark sports
or college logo.
Tips and tricks for face mask wearing:
Mask Fit: The ideal mask is snug enough to fit close to the face (no gaps) to prevent
droplets from entering or exiting around the sides, but large enough so
as not to be restrictive or negatively impact your breathing.
More Pleasant Aroma: Consider adding essential oils or Thieve’s Spray to your face coverings.
Not only have they been shown useful for fighting allergies and congestion,
they can help boost your mood and increase your sense of calm.
Glasses Steaming Up: Submerge your glasses in soapy water and then let them air-dry, creating
a thin antifog layer on the lenses. You can also play around with where
your glasses sit—wear them a bit lower over your nose.
Material: Different people have different levels of tolerability when it comes to
mask wear. Factors like outside temperatures, whether the wearer also
uses glasses and even nose size can all play a role.
Comfort: Finding a mask you can comfortably keep on should be the ultimate goal.
The way to wear a mask:
Wearing a mask correctly is the key to making it effective at preventing
the spread of COVID-19. According to the CDC, a cloth face mask needs
to have the following in order to be effective:
- Cover both your nose and mouth
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the sides of your face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops Have multiple layers of fabric
- Allow for unrestricted breathing
- Ability to be laundered and machine dried without damage or shape changes
While at times it feels as if we are going backwards, we can move forward
by taking simple steps like wearing a mask in public. Let's go easy
on each other as we change our habits. We can all be health leaders while
wearing a face covering.