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As the virus continues to take its toll across the world, many are feeling helpless and scared. Many things are outside of one’s control; however a simple and easy practice that is within your control is wearing a mask. As CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said,“We are not defenseless against COVID-19. Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus.” There are multiple benefits to wearing a mask, and with a little time you can easily become accustomed to using one. You can help protect yourself and your community by the simple act of correctly and consistently wearing a face covering.

Stop Touching Your Face!

Touching your face, mouth, nose or eyes increases the risk of transmission of the virus. If you are wearing a mask, it becomes much harder to touch your face. You will quickly realize the benefits of wearing a face mask when you catch yourself trying to touch your face after being in outside environments. It may take time to break the habit of touching your face, a mask will be very helpful in doing so.

Keep Others Safe!

You may not feel sick, but you could still be infecting others. Asymptomatic carriers are accounting for a large percentage of cases and wearing a mask reduces the chances of you infecting someone else. A recent paper in the journal Nature found that over 40 percent of people who tested positive for the virus are asymptomatic. That means they never had symptoms of the infection. Therefore, wearing a mask reduces your risk of infecting those in your community. Think of it as being altruistic and your good deed of the day. You endure the discomfort to perhaps save someone’s life. New data from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation proposes that if 95 percent of the population wore masks while in public, over 33,000 deaths could be avoided before October.

Reminder to Maintain Social Distance!

Occasionally you may forget the precautions we are all being urged to take. For example, if you see a friend for the first time in a long time, you may be tempted to relax your social distancing. If you are both wearing masks however, it becomes harder to forget that you need to maintain a safe distance. Masks naturally create a reminder that we are in the midst of a pandemic and keeping our distance is the safest way to interact with others. Although we all miss seeing smiles and facial expressions, the visual reminder to maintain social distancing is a huge benefit of wearing masks.

Protect yourself!

In this day and age, it is extremely important to protect your own health. While taking other precautions such as more frequent hand washing and practicing social distancing is helpful, mask wearing is perhaps the most important thing you can do. Infectious disease specialist Peter Chin-Hong, MD states that “the most important thing is wearing a mask” to prevent transmission. It’s easy to do and the impact of your decision can be felt in your own life and your community.

Final Thoughts!

Wearing a mask is a simple and effective way to reduce the spread of the virus. You and your family should practice consistent mask wearing to protect yourselves and your community. If it is uncomfortable to wear a mask, you can ease into it by wearing it for a short period of time at home first. Don’t hesitate to try out different styles of masks; there are many varieties and you can find the option that works best for you. Whatever style or option you choose, make sure to always have a mask available. Do your part in keeping yourself and your community healthy.

https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/06/417906/still-confused-about-masks-heres-science-behindhow-face-masks-prevent

https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/reasons-for-masks.html

https://en.horizonnb.ca/home/patients-and-visitors/coronavirus-(covid-19)/protect-yourself-andothers-from-covid-19/5-reasons-you-should-wear-a-mask.aspx

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-mask/art20485449#:~:text=Can%20face%20masks%20help%20slow,the%20spread%20of%20the%20vi rus.