Because the COVID-19 virus can be spread through respiratory droplets of an infected person, the CDC has been recommending everyone wears a face covering when in public (among other precautionary measures, such as social distancing). Wearing a mask or other face covering in this way is primarily meant to keep you from unintentionally spreading the virus to others if you are infected and don’t realize it. (It’s important to note that you may have the virus without knowing it or showing any symptoms.)
Healthcare workers and medical first responders require a different type of mask that is often called a respirator. Since there are now a wide variety of masks on the market, here’s a quick description of each of the main categories of masks you’re likely to encounter.
Respirators: used by doctors, healthcare professionals, and medical first responders who deal directly with patients; can be more difficult to breathe through than other types of masks, and often require special fit testing to ensure that are on correctly.
Surgical Masks: folded style masks designed to protect patients from a healthcare worker's respiratory emissions; regulated by the FDA; limited re-use, and must be discarded when it becomes damaged, deformed, wet or visibly dirty.
Alternative Masks/ Face Coverings: CDC guidelines include wearing a face covering while in public to help stop the spread of COVID-19; some are cloth face coverings that are washable for re-use, others are disposable masks.
Regardless of the type, here are some simple tips from the CDC when using any face covering:
- Wash your hands before putting on your face covering
- Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
- Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
- Make sure you can breathe easily
- Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing, and wash hands immediately after removing
Come see us at Fonte Surgical Supply for a face mask or face covering: we’ll be happy to help you find the right one for your needs.