By now we know that one of the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a mask when we are around anyone who is not a member of our household. But not all masks are created equal, and some offer more protection than others. Remember, it is possible for you to have the virus without showing any symptoms, and wearing a mask helps protect others from you if you are sick and don’t know it.
What should I look for in a mask?
Wearing a mask prevents respiratory droplets from escaping into the air. The right mask is a balance between filtering capability, fit, and breathability. When choosing a mask:
What about face shields?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WA State Labor & Industries (L&I) don’t recommend face shields as a substitute for a mask. Face shields might stop large droplets from getting into the air (like when you sneeze). But they might not stop other droplets you create when you breathe or talk, and those droplets can escape through the open sides and bottom of the shield. If someone chooses to wear a face shield, it should wrap around the face and extend below their chin. If you use a face shield, be sure to clean and disinfect it daily, and wash your hands after touching it.
Taking good care of your mask is important. When using your mask, remember to:
Wearing a mask is one of the most effective tools we have in our toolbox to slow the spread of COVID-19. We all have the power to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Remember to mask up when you’re in public, and protect your family and friends. We’re in this together.