Pull up your social media feed and you’ll quickly find (as if we didn’t have enough to deal with) many of your friends embroiled in the argument regarding the wearing of masks in public. *Sigh*

I’ve seen numerous physicians in my own community speaking out loudly about wearing masks and I’ve seen other people I also respect saying that wearing a mask is only giving us a false sense of security and ‘gives us something to do’ in order to make us feel that we are doing something worthwhile to protect ourselves and others.

Here is the issue for me. My physician friends, also in the medical community, wear masks to varying degrees and all have a very good grasp of sterile technique and how to avoid cross-contamination. Unfortunately, I do not see these people educating the public at large about how to wear a mask appropriately and safely.

It is my medical opinion, and it will continue to be, that wearing a mask incorrectly is more often WORSE than not wearing one at all. So here we go and I would challenge others in the medical profession to get on board with education. It’s got to be more than just “wear a mask”!

1- All masks are not created equal. Understand that a bandana or simple cloth mask is not equal to a hospital grade surgical mask or a PROPERLY fitted N95 mask. Do not make assumptions about your particular mask in regard to your safety.

2- Masks should not take the place of hand washing or social distancing.

3- The mask should cover your nose AND your chin at all times. It should fit securely, but not so tight as to restrict breathing. Gaps should not exist between the mask and your face.

4- Before donning the mask, make sure your hands have been washed.

5- Use the ties or elastic straps to secure the mask and then adjust, per point three. From that point on,  at no time should you touch the front or inside of your mask.

6- Do not remove the mask in-between stores or as you are out and about. (This includes in your car.)

7- Once you have arrived inside your home, (or perhaps in the garage) carefully remove the mask by the straps or ties and either dispose, if it is disposable, or wash (preferably in a washing machine) and dry. 

8- After removing the mask, wash your hands before you touch your face or any other objects.

Please do not take your mask off, fold it and place in your pocket or handbag, only to get it out later, touch it both on the inside and outside of the mask and put it back on. Because now the virus could be on your hands. So say, Ms. Sally does this, goes into the next store and proceeds to handle all kinds of merchandise and objects. The next person comes along, touches the same things and boom…now we have transfer.

Please continue to do all the things you’ve been doing. Wash your hands, don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth and keep your social distance. Adding the proper use of a mask to these items, may further help slow the spread of the virus.

If someone does not share your belief in using masks, please be kind. If you don’t wish to wear a mask, but someone else does, please be kind.  

Just please be kind. Everyone is doing the best they can right now.

Blessings for the journey,

“Without wearing any mask we are conscious of, we have a special face for each friend.”
-Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.