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The Whys and Hows of Wearing a Mask During the Pandemic

Posted by Johnson Memorial Health on Nov 15, 2020 8:08:07 AM

Blog-MasksWhile the benefits of wearing a mask during the Covid-19 outbreak has been politically controversial, the science is clear.

The mask, when worn by everyone while in the public, is an important tool in the fight against this pandemic.

There were many unknowns in the initial wave of this health crisis. Researchers were uncertain whether a mask protected people from the airborne drops containing the coronavirus.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initially said wearing masks was essential in preventing people who were infected with coronavirus — whether they know it or not — from spreading it to others.

New research touted by the CDC now indicates the wearer gets some protection, too. We know now that wearing one in the public helps protect everyone.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has issued a mask mandate, requiring anyone 8 years and older to wear face coverings inside public spaces, while using public transportation and outdoors when social distancing isn't possible.

Johnson Memorial Health recommends everyone follow the mandate and adhere to the CDC recommendations regarding masks. Here is important information to remember:

When to Wear a Mask
  • When in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people you should put one on.
  • When around people who don’t live in your household, especially when it may be difficult for you to stay six feet apart, you should put one on.
  • Masks should NOT be worn by children under age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Do NOT use a mask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
  • Do NOT use of face shields alone. Evaluation of face shields is ongoing but effectiveness is unknown at this time.
  • Evaluation of mask and gaiter materials and structure is ongoing.
How to Wear your Mask Correctly
  • Wash your hands before putting on your mask.
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Make sure you can breathe easily.
  • Avoid using cloth masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent.
  • Do not put the mask around your neck or up on your forehead.
  • Do not touch the mask, and, if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to disinfect​.
How to Take Off Your Mask When You Are Home
  • Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops.
  • Handle only by the ear loops or ties.
  • Fold outside corners together.
  • Place mask in the washing machine (learn more about how to wash masks).
  • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing.

Learn more about protecting yourself from Covid-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Follow locals updates on the Johnson Memorial Health Covid-19 Resource Center.

Topics: COVID-19