The Canadian government currently advises the general public to wear face-covering in addition to social distancing measures to prevent the spread of respiratory disease through droplets transmitted via close contact. However, there are still lots of debate and questions about wearing protective masks. Today, we’d like to provide you with some information to clarify the five most common myths surrounding mask-wearing.
1. Any face covering is fine, as long as it covers your face
As we stated in a previous blog titled “What types of masks are there?”, we explained that there are different types of masks that vary in their level of effectiveness of preventing outward droplet spread and inward filtration. Another factor that should be taken into account is the fit of the mask, ie. disposable masks for kids would have enough coverage for adults. On the spectrum of mask effectiveness, single-layered coverings such as bandanas and balaclavas are the least effective, while disposable surgical masks are one the most effective protective masks for the public. Opt for a good quality protective mask to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you.
2. It’s okay to leave your nose exposed as long as your mouth is covered.
No, it is not. Droplets can escape from your system through both your mouth and your nose. This means that even if your mouth is covered, you can still contaminate and infect others if you have the virus. Furthermore, if your nose is exposed, you are getting no inward filtration protection. Even though protective masks are mainly meant to prevent outward spread, it also provides some level of inward filtration. If your nose is exposed, you are not protected at all.
Our advice: just don’t do it, you’re already wearing the mask, please just wear it properly. And if you see other people using a mask incorrectly, consider correcting them.
3. It’s okay to not social distance when wearing a mask
The Canadian government advises both social distancing measures and face-covering in public. This is because wearing protective masks only reduces rather than completely blocks out outward droplet spray. If you sneeze while wearing a protective mask, a person standing right in front of you will still likely get droplets on them. Physical distancing will prevent this from happening.
4. Mask wearing will increase the amount of CO2 intake and cause you to be sick
No, it will not. Both cloth masks and disposable surgical masks allow carbon dioxide to pass through and not build up inside the mask. Prolonged use of masks may be uncomfortable for the wearer but will not put your health and personal safety at risk. To decrease discomfort when wearing a protective mask, you can try to breathe through your nose to reduce the humidity level buildup inside the mask. Also, it is a good idea to choose a highly breathable mask, like Medura’s disposable surgical mask for both adults and kids.
5. It’s unnecessary to wear a mask outside or if I feel fine.
It is a common myth that virus and bacteria are less active outdoors. This is not true at all. It is also a myth that you don’t have to wear a mask if you feel fine and aren’t experiencing flu-like symptoms. CDC reports that around 40% of virus transmission happens before people start showing symptoms. You may be asymptomatic and contagious, so please be respectful of others and wear a mask regardless of your personal state.