Mask Up to Protect Yourself and Others
Joan Amistoso | July 09, 2020
While all Overlake visitors, staff and patients have been required to wear a face covering or mask while at our facilities, face coverings are now mandatory in public places statewide. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, we must remain vigilant in doing what we can to decrease the spread of the disease.
“Many people who test positive for COVID-19, have had minor symptoms or no symptoms at all. Therefore, wearing a face covering whether you have symptoms or no symptoms in public settings, is particularly important in decreasing the spread of COVID-19,” says Joan Amistoso, ARNP, with Overlake Clinics Urgent Care.
When someone talks, sneezes or coughs, the droplets that carry the virus are released into the air. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is the evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that show wearing a cloth face covering reduces the spray of these droplets, especially when you’re within six feet of other people.
“COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of cloth face coverings is important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain,” says the CDC.
In addition, the CDC has emphasized that the general public, who are otherwise healthy, should wear a cloth face covering due to the recent increase in demand for surgical masks for healthcare workers and first responders.
Wearing a face covering doesn’t take the place of physical, or social, distancing (staying six feet from others in public), proper handwashing and avoiding touching your face. It’s not necessary to wear a face covering when you are in your car or at home, so long as you’re with those from your household and do not have symptoms. Recommendations vary for wearing face coverings depending on the restaurant you go to, the type of outdoor activities, age or special health conditions.
“It is equally important to continue to wear a face covering in places such as an exam room. Newer studies have found that respiratory droplets can remain on surfaces for extended periods of time,” says Amistoso. “When patients are seen at an Overlake clinic, we ask that they remain masked in the exam room, even while they are waiting to been seen.”
Below are some helpful tips on how to properly wear face coverings.
How to wash and dry your cloth face covering
The CDC recommends washing cloth face coverings after each use. They can be hand washed or machine washed. If you include your face covering with your regular laundry in the washing machine, use laundry detergent and the warmest water setting for the particular type of material.
If washing by hand, soak it for five minutes in a bleach solution (four teaspoons of household bleach per quart of room temperature water), and rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water.
Be sure to dry the face covering completely after washing. You can either include the face covering in your dryer, using the highest heat setting, or lay flat to dry (in direct sunlight is best).