Masks are mandatory in Nevada for anyone in a public space, including public transportation, public-facing work environments, when visiting businesses, or interacting with others in any generally publicly accessible space. But there is a lot of confusion about how effective a mask really is and about why we should wear one. Renown Health Infection Preventionist Amber Barney helps debunk five common myths about wearing a mask.
Myth #1: Masks don’t provide real protection from COVID-19.
Some people infected with COVID-19 might never experience symptoms, or have a period of time before their symptoms are present. This means that there is a potential to spread the illness without even knowing you have it.
Wearing a mask serves as a barrier to minimize infective droplets produced by coughing, sneezing, talking or singing from filling the airspace or contaminating the environment around you. Masks are also a friendly reminder to not touch your mucous membranes in the event your hands are contaminated.
Myth #2: My mask only needs to cover my mouth.
Infective droplets may enter or exit the body via the mouth and nose. It is important to fully cover both your nose and mouth to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect yourself.
Myth #3: There are many medical conditions that prevent someone from wearing a mask.
Almost everyone can safely wear a mask. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that children under the age of 2 or anyone who needs medical assistance because they are experiencing difficulty breathing, unconsciousness or incapacitation should not use cloth face coverings. People who experience certain mental health conditions such as severe claustrophobia or PTSD might also choose to refrain from wearing a mask.
Looking for a doctor’s note if you can’t wear a mask? Good news – you don’t need one. In Section 3 of Gov. Sisolak’s mandate, it states that “persons exempted under this provision shall not be required to produce documentation verifying the condition.” Renown follows the Governor’s language and will not write notes for patients requesting an exemption. Your understanding and support are appreciated as we fight the good fight for the health of northern Nevada.
Myth #4: If you already recovered from COVID-19 you don’t need to wear a mask.
It is unknown if anyone who previously had COVID-19 is immune from getting infected again. It is best practice to wear a mask to protect yourself and others.
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Myth #5: Wearing a mask means that we don’t have to physically distance.
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
The combined efforts of mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and frequent disinfecting can reduce transmission risk.
Practice Kindness and Patience While Wearing a Mask
Thank you for following the mask guidelines set out by the State of Nevada. Being kind and patient with ourselves and one another will help us get through this crisis as a community. Remember that wearing a mask helps keep us safe from infectious disease but it can also be a barrier for some people, for example, those who are deaf or hard of hearing. We can work through these barriers together by practicing kindness and patience.
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