Wearing a mask may help prevent the spread of seasonal respiratory viruses, including the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and COVID-19.
Masks are effective at reducing transmission of respiratory viruses in health care settings. Wearing a mask inside a medical facility, such as a hospital, doctor’s office, or an outpatient center, helps protect patients. It also protects their families, the facility’s staff, and your community.
To find out if masking is currently required at UPMC facilities, please call 833-390-9489 or visit UPMC.com/VisitorInfo. Those with symptoms of a respiratory illness are required to mask at all times to prevent spread.
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Commonly Asked Questions About Facemasks
Why does covering my nose matter?
Particles of seasonal viruses such as the flu, RSV, or COVID-19, can escape through your nose and mouth. This can happen anytime an affected person exhales, coughs, sneezes, or talks.
Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth prevents these dangerous particles from escaping. Also, masking helps prevent virus particles from coming into your nose and causing an infection.
To protect others from infection, your facemask should fit securely on your face. Make sure to cover both your nose and mouth completely. The bottom of the mask should fit snugly below your chin.
How can I wear a mask without my glasses fogging up?
Fogged glasses are often a sign of an ill-fitting mask. Make 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. The tissue can absorb some of the moist air within your mask and prevent it from reaching your glasses.
When and where should I wear a mask?
The simple answer is you can wear a mask anywhere and anytime you want to help protect yourself and your community.
Even before the pandemic, areas of hospitals and medical facilities where patients are most vulnerable typically required masking. Now, masking guidelines may expand when the risk of transmitting respiratory viruses increases. Everyone may have to wear a mask in all areas and at all times when inside a medical facility.
Before your visit, you should check with your provider’s office or the facility about its masking guidelines.
Please note: Children under the age of 2 shouldn’t wear a facemask.
Can I wear a face shield instead of a mask?
A face shield isn’t a recommended substitute for a facemask.
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. You should wear disposable face shields only. You should also clean and disinfect reusable shields after each use.
Face shields aren’t an acceptable substitute in health care settings. Newborns and infants shouldn’t wear a face shield.
How Else Can I Protect Myself and Others From Seasonal Respiratory Viruses?
Besides masking, another important way you can help limit the risk of spread is staying home if you don’t feel well. If someone else doesn’t feel well, ask them to stay home.
You also can avoid transmitting the virus from surfaces around you to your mouth and nose by:
- Not touching your face.
- Practicing hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after touching potentially contaminated surfaces. If soap and water are unavailable, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Wiping down surfaces that may have become contaminated.
Visit UPMC.com for information about masking guidelines at UPMC hospitals and medical facilities.
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. We are dedicated to providing Life Changing Medicine to our communities.