Mask Up to Protect Yourself and Others

While all Overlake visitors, staff and patients have been required to wear a 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 cloth mask, 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 mask 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 masks 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 mask due to the recent increase in demand for surgical masks for healthcare workers and first responders.

Wearing a mask 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 mask 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 masks 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 mask 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 masks.

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How to wash and dry your cloth mask

The CDC recommends washing cloth masks after each use. They can be hand washed or machine washed. If you include your cloth mask 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 cloth mask completely after washing. You can either include it in your dryer, using the highest heat setting, or lay flat to dry (in direct sunlight is best).

Hear Overlake staff share why they mask in the video below.

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