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Prevea Health

Debunking four myths about masking


Myth: I’m not sick so I don’t need to wear a mask.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as data collected locally reveal that many people infected with COVID-19 do not display any symptoms, or feel or appear to be “sick.” However, they do remain infectious and able to spread the virus to others. This is why the CDC recommends all who are able wear a mask in public settings and when around people who are not a part of their household.

Myth: A mask is not guaranteed to prevent me from getting COVID-19, so it doesn’t make sense for me to wear one.

While wearing a mask is not guaranteed to prevent you from contracting COVID-19, there is emerging evidence that shows wearing a mask will protect those around you; and, protecting those around you makes perfect sense. 
We all produce respiratory droplets, which are most often invisible to the naked eye, every day. These respiratory droplets are expelled into the air when we cough, sneeze, talk and/or raise our voices (such as while shouting or singing).

When someone has COVID-19, they can spread the disease to others if their droplets are inhaled by or come in direct contact with the face of another person. Not everyone who is infected with COVID-19 shows symptoms, and that is why it is recommended all who are able wear a mask.
A mask can act as a simple barrier for these droplets. When you wear a mask, you are helping to protect others from contracting the virus by creating a simple barrier between your droplets and those around you.
The more people (who are able) wear masks, and practice physical distancing and other infection prevention measures, the better chance our communities have at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Myth: Wearing a mask will cause me to breathe in the air I’m exhaling, and make me sick.

Some people have suggested that carbon dioxide from exhaling gets trapped under the mask and can make you sick. This isn't true. A properly fitted mask will offer you good airflow, while still covering your nose and mouth. The accumulation of carbon dioxide is impossible with good airflow.

In addition, masking is not a new concept, and has been around for years. This is exemplified by health care and other professions, such as manufacturing, which require masking for long periods of time for health and safety reasons. There is little to no evidence of adverse health reactions in these populations as a result of appropriate mask-wearing.

It is important to note, however, that there are some people who should not wear a mask, and some instances in which wearing a mask may not be safe. Click here to learn about who should (and should not) wear a mask, and here to learn when (and when not) to wear a mask. 

Myth: If I’m outside, I do not need to wear a mask.

Your respiratory droplets are capable of spreading to others whether you are indoors or outdoors. If you are in a public setting where it is difficult to stay 6 feet away or more from others, then it is necessary to wear a mask, if you are able, no matter if you are indoors or outdoors.