DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – With Ohio’s mask ordinance now in effect, the debate over the necessity and safety of wearing masks continues across the country. 2 NEWS spoke with a health expert with Kettering Health Network to bust the most popular mask myths.
TRUTH OR MYTH: Masks, especially cloth masks, are ineffective in preventing coronavirus.
Dr. Jeffrey Weinstein says this is a myth.
“Cloth masks are somewhat effective at preventing anything that you cough out getting aerosolized or put out into the air around you in a droplet form,” he said. “It’s not perfect, it’s not as good as certain medical masks. But it definitely reduces the output of droplets from your respiratory tract into the environment around you.”
TRUTH OR MYTH: I have to wear a mask at all times, even when I’m at home with my family.
This one is a myth.
Masks are not needed when in your own home or personal car, however:
“If anyone in the family has been diagnosed with COVID or has symptoms of COVID, those people should wear masks around their other family members and should keep their distance from those family members as well,” said Dr. Weinstein.
TRUTH OR MYTH: Only people who are infected or have weak immune systems need masks.
This one was also ruled a myth. A new study published in the National Academy of Sciences estimates as many as half of the COVID-19 cases spread from asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases.
Dr. Weinstein says, “Any of us can get infected, then the problem is that we can unwittingly give it to someone who might be at risk for severe disease.”
TRUTH OR MYTH: Cloth masks should be washed after each use.
This one is true, especially if you’ve been wearing it for most of the day.
“They can get contaminated with bacteria, they can get soiled and dirty, so they should be laundered, I’d say, after a day’s use,” said Dr. Weinstein.
TRUTH OR MYTH: Masks can make me sick because they reduce my oxygen levels.
The ruling is in: It’s a myth.
“We’ve been hearing that. It is not true. We know that, of course, surgeons and nurses and many, many professions have worn masks for hours at a time for decades or even more, and they do not have a problem with low oxygen levels,” Dr. Weinstein said.
TRUTH OR MYTH: While wearing masks, you should still practice good hygiene and social distancing.
This one is true.
Dr. Weinstein says, “The masks could be a false sense of security. If you have touched a surface, theoretically, that someone has coughed on or droplets had landed on and touched your eyes, or ultimately you take your mask off and you have not cleaned your hands, then you could self-inoculate a virus unintentionally. So that’s why we combine mask wearing, social distancing and good hand hygiene.”
TRUTH OR MYTH: Besides young children, there are no exceptions to who needs to wear a mask or who shouldn’t be wearing a mask.
“That’s mostly true, however, certain people with severe respiratory conditions, if their physician states they have a medical contraindication to wearing a mask, meaning that a mask could harm them in terms of their medical condition, those individuals would not have to wear a mask, typically. But that’s few and far between. There are not very many people and people in that situation obviously should not be out in crowds and really should be self isolating at home anyway,” said Dr. Weinstein.
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