6 Face Mask Myths Debunked
It’s been more than a year of wearing face masks and shields and while it can get uncomfortable and tiring, it’s saving us more than we think. Because of misinformation that easily gets spread, it’s hard to believe what’s real and what isn’t, especially when it comes to COVID-19 and masks.
So, we’ve put together a list of the most common misconceptions about wearing masks and safety practices to end the confusion once and for all.
Myth 1: I’m not sick, so I don’t need a mask.
In a nutshell, wearing a mask protects you and those around you from the virus, as it lessens the chance of transmission of respiratory droplets. Studies show that when unmasked, droplets can travel for as far as eight feet, while their distance is reduced to just one foot when masked. Since some people may be carriers of the virus but show no signs of symptoms, face masks are all the more essential in keeping the virus from spreading.
Myth 2: If I’m outdoors, I don’t need a mask.
While being in an open space lessens the risk of catching the virus, it doesn’t make it impossible. Droplets can still spread in the air, even more so when it’s windy. Recent events have shown that some big, outdoor gatherings are now considered superspreader events.
Myth 3: Wearing a mask for too long will make me sick because I’m breathing in too much carbon dioxide.
For healthy adults, there is little to no risk of hypoxia or lower oxygen levels when wearing a mask. Cloth masks are very breathable and carbon dioxide can freely diffuse through them when you breathe. Case in point, doctors and healthcare workers have been wearing masks to perform surgeries and other procedures, and this has given them no trouble.
If you’re feeling uncomfortable while wearing your mask, lessening talking and breathing through your nose can help reduce humidity and discomfort.
Myth 4: Since I’m wearing a mask, I don’t need to social distance.
Two of the most helpful ways in preventing the virus from spreading are wearing masks and social distancing, and it’s never a choice between one or the other. While wearing masks limits the transmission of droplets and lowers the distance it can travel, it doesn’t totally eliminate the possibility of its spread.
Myths 5: Kids don’t need to wear masks since the virus doesn’t affect them.
Just because children don’t seem to get as sick as adults when affected by the virus, it doesn’t mean they can’t be carriers or spreaders, or that they’re immune to it. In addition, some kids have multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which is also a dangerous disease connected to COVID-19.
Myth 6: Soaking a used mask in alcohol is the best way to clean it.
Disposable surgical masks are meant to be thrown right away after each use, and not doused in alcohol. Alcohol’s vital role in this pandemic is to keep surfaces and our hands clean and germ-free.
For cloth masks, unless stated otherwise in their cleaning instructions, it is suggested to scrub the mask for 30 to 60 seconds with a mild detergent—don’t overdo it and make sure it’s rinsed off well to avoid skin irritation.
Stock up on masks, alcohol, vitamins, and other necessities to keep you and your family safe from the virus. Shop them only on Healthmart and bring health to your home.
NOTE: Information on COVID-19 is constantly changing and new studies are coming up every now and then. For the latest updates, check out the CDC’s website.