Proper mask usage, cleaning explained
BATON ROUGE - More people are encouraged to wear masks in public. And when a few rules are relaxed allowing some businesses to operate Friday, workers will need them to cover their nose and mouth.
The CDC says if you're going to be out and about doing essential things, your face should be covered while maintaining a social distance. Dr. Mindy Calandro with the Baton Rouge Clinic says wearing a mask protects others from the coronavirus.
"You're wearing them to help reduce spread," she said. "If you were to have it, it helps reduce you from spreading it."
More people are wearing masks in grocery stores and when they're in public, near others. Many people are being resourceful, making them for others or themselves. There are also tutorials online to show you how to make a mask using items found around the house. Here's one from the Surgeon General.
All the mask has to do is prevent exhalation of most large particles ejected when you cough or sneeze, or launch saliva when you're talking. You're protected from inhalation when others around you wear a mask.
Certainly, N95 masks are better than a cloth mask, which helps to block the droplet particles from entering and exiting. It's why healthcare workers need them, because they're working with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients.
"We know that they need them, because we know that they're exposed to those particles," Calandro said.
There has been discussion about reusing and disinfecting an N95 mask. People might be inclined to do so because they're so hard to find. The N95 masks weren't designed to be reused, while cloth masks are.
It is not recommended to spray or disinfect masks with disinfectant spray. It's best to wash your cloth mask in hot soapy water or run it through a washing machine cycle.
At the state's daily news conference Tuesday, Governor John Bel Edwards spoke about the importance that everyone over the age of two wears a mask. Dr. Alex Billioux demonstrated how to properly wear, clean, and store a mask.
"When I wear a cloth mask, I'm limiting the potential virus that's shedding out of my face," Billioux said. "If we're all wearing masks, we're limiting the likelihood that if any of us are asymptomatic or symptomatic that we are shedding virus to each other."
When you're not wearing your mask, Billioux recommends that it's stored in a safe place, like a plastic bag. The mask should be folded inward so the outside is not touching the inside of the mask. The idea is that you want to touch your mask and face as little as possible. Before putting on and removing your mask, you should wash your hands and return the mask to its bag, put it in the washing machine, or wash it by hand. Billioux recommends washing the mask after each use.