Does Wearing a Mask Stop COVID-19?
There has been much debate in the news recently about who should wear a mask and if they work to stop the spread of COVID-19. Before we look at how effective masks may or may not be in stopping COVID-19, it’s important to understand the logic behind the recommendation to wear a mask.
According to the CDC, the idea behind wearing masks is to prevent or reduce the amount of infected respiratory droplets from traveling into the air. Every time we speak, laugh, cough, or sneeze, we release tiny drops of liquid into the air. These droplets can contain many viruses and bacteria that can make us sick, not just COVID-19. The CDC cites recent studies to support their claim that wearing masks helps prevent these droplets from traveling into the air and spreading COVID-19.
However, wearing masks alone may not be enough to stop the spread of COVID-19. This is why, in many places, social distancing is encouraged. The further away you are from someone who is infected, but may not realize it, the less likely you are to become infected yourself. The CDC recommends a minimum space of 6′ between people. That may not always be possible depending on your location or situation, so when paired with social distancing, wearing masks can help protect you.
In addition to wearing a mask, it is important to replace it daily if it is a disposable type, or wash it daily by hand with gentle detergent if it is a cloth type mask. Throughout the day, all of those droplets that would normally be expelled into the air, are collected in your mask and could potentially multiply on the mask and make you sick. While wearing masks and social distancing help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases, they are not 100% foolproof, so remember to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.
This blog post is for information purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you have questions about COVID-19, wearing masks and social distancing, please contact your healthcare provider.