As healthcare providers, we strongly recommend following the CDC and local/state guidance as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the CDC, up to 80 percent of those infected with COVID-19 may have mild or no symptoms. If you are not wearing a face mask and don’t know you have COVID-19 because you are asymptomatic, you could give COVID-19 to someone who is at a higher risk of severe illness or death – including a friend or family member.

In the last blog, we discussed our “Save a Life, Wear a Mask” campaign. Part of this campaign involves information about different types of masks. This blog also includes how to correctly wear masks. Check out our Instagram page for campaign updates. We want to be sure that we are mitigating the risk associated with COVID-19 as much as possible. This messaging will be emphasized through emails, flyers, health center signage, social media posts, and supportive policies for our patients. We are also taking into consideration the government policies and guidelines surrounding mask usage.

What Do You Need to Know About the Different Type of Masks?

Cloth Face Coverings

These work as a simple barrier by preventing respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto others when you cough, sneeze, talk, or raise your voice. The CDC recommends that all people age 2 and older wear a cloth face-covering in public settings and when around those who don’t live in your household.

N95 Respirators

These masks are in critical supply and should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders. The respirator edges are designed to help form a tight seal around the wearer’s nose and mouth, efficiently filtering out airborne particles. These masks should not be shared or reused.

Surgical Masks

When worn properly, these loose-fitting, disposable masks are meant to help block large-particle droplets, but they don’t protect against fine particles that might be transmitted by coughs or sneezes. Surgical masks are not intended to be used more than once, and these masks should also be reserved for medical workers due to limited supply.

Face Shields

It is unclear if face shields provide any benefit to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. You can choose to wear a face shield if you’re going to be in close contact with others for a prolonged period of time. If you wear a face shield without a mask, the shield should wrap the sides of your face and extend below your chin. However, the CDC does not recommend wearing face shields as a substitute for masks.

If you do not have a face mask, you can order one online or find one at stores locally. You can also make one on your own by following these directions recommended by the CDC.

If patients have specific questions about face masks or would like recommendations as to where they can be found locally, Marathon Health providers are happy to assist. For more information on COVID-19 mitigation strategies, download our Return to Business Playbook.

About the Author: Amy Lefevre

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Director, Engagement Strategy, Marathon Health

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