masks. Masks! MASKS!!!!
We’ve heard masks don’t work, so what gives? Why start wearing them now?
May Update – Masks Required: Denver, Wheat Ridge, Boulder, Ft Collins, Summit County, Aspen.
Updated: Which is the Best Face Mask to wear?
Like many health professionals, I’m fielding questions about masks. I research Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidelines for my Hospice’s 100+ community healthcare personnel. And I’ve had the chance to assist Golden organizations and volunteers stay safer and sort through all the advice.
On Friday April 3rd, Governor Polis urged Coloradoans to adopt a “Strong Mask Culture” when leaving the house. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) now says the same.
Why? How do we make or get one? And how do we wear a mask?
“The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”New CDC recommendations on cloth mask use
Disclaimer: Nobody’s an expert on this right now, including me. I’m sharing thoughts (not medical advice) regarding masks and resources to help you make educated decisions about your own health in this uncertain time.
So, why wear a mask? Especially untested cloth masks?
- First, even a cloth mask may provide you some marginal protection against virus germs getting into your nose or mouth and infecting you.
- Second, if you have the COVID-19 virus (*25% of infected people may not have symptoms) there is indirect evidence that wearing masks reduces transmission of the virus to someone else.
- Finally, if you choose a cloth mask, this allows our community to direct true surgical and N95 masks for use by healthcare professionals.
- Additional studies on mask effectiveness can be found here, here, and here.
Tip: The CDC and Surgeon General encourage the public to allow HCP (health care personnel) first access to surgical and N95 masks and other personal protective equipment.
How do I make a mask? How do I wear one?
- The CDC has provided new guidance to make and wear a cloth mask (PDF version here)
- The US Surgeon General posted a Youtube video creating a DIY, no-sewing required cloth mask from household items
- Here’s a visual post on correctly donning a face mask from JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).
- Jefferson County Open Space offers advice on wearing masks outdoors. (Hint: if you’re sick, don’t go out).
- A regional health care system provides advice on sewing and donating cloth masks. Want to help locally? The Golden Civic Foundation is working with Golden’s Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum to sew and donate masks.
- The NY Times developed a guide with multiple sew and non-sew templates to help you make masks, and points to evidence on the best materials to use for cloth masks.
- Just as important: How NOT TO WEAR a mask!
- PLEASE! Don’t forget to continue washing hands, practicing good hand hygiene and protecting yourself and others with proven and effective ways to slow the spread of disease.
- (My Opinion:) The lack of real surgical masks and N95 respirators is deplorable. I encourage everyone to strongly advocate at regional, state and Federal levels to FIX THE SUPPLY ISSUE. It is distressing as a health care worker seeing patients on the front line to see the richest country in the world unable to supply tested and effective PPE to keep us safer.
Tip: Visit COVID-19 Resources for Goldenites for updated information relevant to residents in Golden.Bill Fisher, BSN, RN, CHPN