It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has altered all of our lives dramatically—unfortunately, everywhere we turn, the virus is there.
No matter who you are, what you do, or where you live, you’ve ultimately been touched or affected by the coronavirus. From financial stressors to the burdens of sickness to the anxiety of how to slow the spread of the virus, the effects of this virus have spared few people.
And while there’s no solution, antidote, or vaccination on the horizon that can ultimately rid us all of these worries right now, there is something we can all do when it comes to slowing the spread of the virus, protecting ourselves, and protecting everyone around us, too.
Masks, PPE, and medical supply products.
But not everyone is as informed about masks as they should be—especially in how they can do more than just protect a single person. Masks are actually integral to protecting large numbers of people—everyone around you—in a very real, tangible way.
How, exactly? That’s precisely what we’re here to explore. Keep reading to learn more about how masks can be a reliable, quality solution for not only protecting you from getting the virus but also protecting others from getting the virus.
Why Wear Masks?
There’s no real disagreement out there about whether or not a sick person should wear a mask. Conclusively, most experts totally agree that a sick person should wear a mask to protect others from getting the virus.
But the real question that seems to leave everyone unsure is this: should a non-sick person wear a mask?
That’s where things get a little complicated.
With other illnesses, it’s pretty easy to tell if someone is sick—they usually have telling symptoms that show themselves pretty quickly. But the coronavirus is different—it can take anywhere from 5-14 days for someone to start showing symptoms. Sometimes, they never show symptoms at all (this is called being asymptomatic and it accounts for about 25% of cases based on our current knowledge).
The issue with this? Even if people don’t feel sick or aren’t showing signs of being sick, they could still be very contagious. So, with COVID-19, it’s extremely hard to tell if someone is truly sick or healthy.
When you choose to wear a mask, you’re choosing to acknowledge the fact that, even though you don’t feel sick, it’s entirely possible you could be an asymptomatic carrier—and because of that, you want to do what you can to protect yourself and others by slowing the spread of the virus.
The Science Behind Masks: How Masks, PPE, and Medical Supply Products Work
But how exactly do masks, medical supply products, and other forms of PPE slow the spread of the virus, ultimately protecting everyone around you?
It’s all in the science.
While there’s no mask that can guarantee you won’t catch the virus, there are several types of masks out there that can dramatically reduce your chances of catching or spreading it.
There are two known ways of catching and spreading COVID-19:
- fomite transmission (by touching an infected surface)
- direct transmission (breathing in infected droplets through coughs, sneezes, and close contact)
When we talk, breathe, cough, sneeze, etc., our body produces droplets and aerosols that fall in relatively close range of us. If we’re infected, those droplets are infected, and those droplets, in turn, infect whatever they land on.
When we talk, sneeze, cough, laugh, etc. without a mask on, those droplets and aerosols can spread much, much further. When we wear a mask, though, we limit those droplets, and further, when we wear the correct type of mask (like the N95), we are able to filter out roughly 95% of those aerosols (which could also be harmful).
Looking for a helpful visual? Check out this video here from Vox that paints a clear picture of what we mean.
Ultimately, there’s no mask out there that can stop you from giving or getting the virus—but when you practice three important social pillars, you can do your best to avoid spreading the virus. These include:
- wearing the proper PPE, masks, and medical supply products
- practicing social distancing
- frequently washing your hands
Should You Wear a Mask?
Wearing a mask isn’t just about protecting yourself—it’s about protecting others.
The mandate on wearing masks and other medical supply products has been pretty inconsistent. Most often, whether or not you’ve been told to wear a mask will depend on where you live. The United States has been very up in the air on whether or not masks should be required. In fact, masks have never been mandated as a requirement—just optional protection for those who want to wear it.
Other countries (like Asian countries and even some European countries) have taken a staunch stance on wearing masks to help protect individuals and everyone around them.
So, the question remains—should you wear a mask?
The fact of the matter is that wearing a mask alone isn’t going to fully protect you—or the people around you—from getting the virus. Truly, there’s just no guarantee out there that says a single mask can keep you from getting sick or getting others sick.
But wearing a mask can help to slow the spread of the virus—especially when you’re practicing those other two pillars of that social triad we mentioned (social distancing and frequent hand washing).
Ultimately, if you’re not working in the medical field and your job doesn’t require you to suit up with medical supply products of other types of PPE, the decision to wear a mask is up to you. But know that when you choose to don a mask, you choose to take a precautionary measure to not just protect yourself, but everyone around you.
Masks don’t just keep germs out, they keep them in—even if you don’t feel sick, you could be sick (that’s the tricky thing about the coronavirus). Doing everything you can protect yourself and the people around you can only be accomplished through those three social standards—and wearing a mask responsibly is definitely a part of that.
We’re committed to providing you with reliable, quality, and regulation-compliant PPE and medical supplies that will do more than just protect you, but also help you protect everyone around you. Not sure which kind of mask you might need? We can help with that, too. Visit our virtual learning center to discover which type of mask, medical supply product, or PPE is right for you.
Have questions? Reach out to us directly right here—we’re more than happy to help.
Remember, only by working together to slow the spread of the virus can we ultimately stop it—those three pillars of social practice (social distancing, wearing a mask, and frequently washing your hands), can help ensure you’re doing everything possible to keep your family, your loved ones, those around you, and even yourself as safe as possible.