Experts weigh in on masks

Local medical people equate mask-wearing with kindness

  • Health   Sun, Nov 15th, 2020   Contributed by Marion Guyatt RN in consultation with Dr. Laurie Sellers MD
Local medical experts spell out the do's and don't's of masks. (Photo courtesy of Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash)

Local medical experts spell out the do's and don't's of masks. (Photo courtesy of Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash)

Dr. Laurie Sellers, a local physician who carries on her father’s, Dr. Clayton Sellers, community public health spirit, asks the timely question, ‘why are people still getting COVID when they report having worn a mask and stayed socially distanced?’

Theoretically, to contract COVID-19 a break in protocol may have happened. What is a break in protocol? Touching your mask and then touching something else; a phone, water tap, computer keyboard, or a musical instrument are examples of where the virus could be transferred to. The next person who touches these surfaces is at risk.

Socializing in indoor spaces also increases our community risks. It is easier to let your guard down with friends indoors. Unfortunately, this virus has no idea that you have been through thick and thin together, that you relax and really want to hug your friends. This virus doesn’t select it’s hosts based on friendship. So, continue to be a great friend, and wear your mask if you happen to be within 2 meters, or 6 feet of them.

Soap and water/sanitizer are the evil nemesis of COVID-19. Mirror the hospital protocol, and wash your hands before donning your mask. Use your ear loops to apply the mask to your face if using a medical mask. Use two hands to adjust the nose metal to secure the mask on your face.

Once applied, DO NOT TOUCH your face mask. Health professionals have been trained to do this and now it is your turn.

Remember hankies? They became out of style because they were deemed unsanitary. You wouldn’t reuse a used hankie, correct?

Think of the inside of the mask as a dirty tissue. The outside of the mask is the surface that potentially traps the COVID-19 virus. A used mask is unsanitary. If you are sporting a fabric mask, wash it by hand and air dry it.

Dispose of a medical mask and be sure to wash your hands after mask removal, no matter what type you are using.

Ideally your mask should be applied once. However, life happens and there will be times where removing the mask and reapplying is necessary. Wash or hand sanitize your hands prior to removal. DO NOT TOUCH the front of the mask. Use the ear loops, or ties to doff or remove your mask. Then carefully put it in a plastic bag or set in a plastic container.

If these are not available, place your mask with your side of the mask facing up. Put a tissue, or something disposable, down on the surface first to keep it clean. You don’t want to give the virus the power to transfer onto that surface.

These are difficult times and education helps us as a community. Together we can lower our community risk for contracting COVID-19. Together we can be kind to each other. Wearing a mask is kindness.

(Written in consultation with Dr. Laurie Sellers M.D. who has privileges at Grand River Hospital, Grey Bruce Health Services, and St. Mary’s General Hospital and Marion Guyatt RN, Federal Public Health Border Clinical Screener. Usually Dr Laurie and Marion join forces to provide flu vaccination clinics. This year has new challenges. Thank you for wearing a mask!)