What We Know So Far... Part 1

Face Mask

I thought it might be a good time to make a few posts about what we DO know with regard to the novel coronavirus and this pandemic we are facing. Let me say up front, there are still many things we do not know, and scientists are researching to find the answers. But, I want to cut through the noise and hopefully provide some guidance; and if you have a specific question, you can submit it in our comments section. I will try to address it (or at least tell you we do not know yet). That being said, where do we start? How about simple ways to protect yourself and stop the pandemic.

There is less debate now than even a few weeks ago, but to anyone who has not heard: “wear a face covering”. If you are out in public or go to the store, make sure you are wearing a face mask. It is mainly so that YOU do not spread a virus you are unaware that you have. It also provides some protection to the wearer by covering your mouth and being a physical barrier to stop you from unconsciously touching your mouth. Whenever possible, we should stay 6 feet away from each other. Since that is not always possible, it is important to wear a face covering.

Myths about masks - They do not interfere with oxygen or carbon dioxide. These are very small molecules and can cross through even the very best N95 mask. To be fair, masks can make people feel uncomfortable - it can give a sense of claustrophobia, or make your face feel really hot from your breath, and we have all noticed how it can pinch on your nose. Unfortunately, the coronavirus has become common enough that anyone can have it, so the only way to stop the pandemic from spreading is for all of us to join together in preventing the spread. The truth is most people with COVID-19 have very mild symptoms, and that is what makes it so easy to walk around spreading it without even knowing. On the other side of the coin, it makes some people very sick - deathly sick. I for one do not want to spread it to anyone in my family, or friends, or you! I will be wearing my mask until things get back under control.

Next post - What to do if you live with someone who has COVID-19.

Remember to leave me your questions in the comments section!

- Craig Kopecky, M.D.

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