Updated Nov. 25, 2020
The global pandemic COVID-19 has caused millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide.
The disease, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, spreads through respiratory droplets. When people who are infected cough, sneeze, talk, or raise their voice, it releases droplets. Those droplets can then be absorbed by someone nearby, potentially infecting that person.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people wear facemasks in public places. Pennsylvania currently requires people 2 years old and above to wear facemasks in public and when around people not from your household.
As more states and businesses require facemasks, some common questions have started to arise. Facemasks provide an important role in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but wearers may have some concerns. Here are answers to some of the most common questions.
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Commonly Asked Questions About Facemasks
Why does it matter if I cover my nose?
When someone with COVID-19 exhales, coughs, sneezes, or talks, the virus is released through particles from their the nose and mouth. Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth prevents these dangerous particles from escaping.
To protect others from infection, facemasks should fit securely on your face. Be sure to cover both your nose and mouth completely, with the bottom of the mask snugly below your chin.
Should I be wearing eye protection, too?
According to the CDC, you can become infected if the virus reaches your mouth, nose, or possibly your eyes. Though we are still learning how the virus is spread, the main sources to contract COVID-19 is believed to be from the mouth or nose.
At this time, the CDC recommends social distancing, routine disinfecting, and wearing facemasks for prevention.
How can I wear a mask without my glasses fogging up?
Fogged glasses can be a sign of an ill-fitting mask. Be sure your mask fits snugly while still allowing you to breathe easily. A loose fit, particularly at the top of your mask, can cause hot air to come up and fog your eyeglasses.
If your facemask has ties, tighten the top knot to ensure that it is snug. If your facemask has loops, try folding a tissue and attaching it to the inside of your mask with a small piece of tape. The tissue absorbs some of the moist air within your mask and can prevent it from reaching your glasses.
Can I wear a face shield instead of a mask?
A face shield is not a recommended substitute for a facemask. The CDC does not currently recommend the use of face shields for everyday activities or as a substitute for a facemask. The effectiveness of face shields at protecting other people from airborne particles is unknown, the CDC says.
If you do wear a face shield without a mask, the shield should wrap around the sides of your face and extend to below your chin. Disposable face shields should be worn only once. Reusable shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
Face shields should not be used as a substitute in health care settings. Newborns and infants should not wear a face shield.
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