SPRINGFIELD — COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
“Face masks are important to prevent people who may not yet have symptoms of COVID-19 from passing the virus to other people,” said Dr. Robert Roose, chief medical officer at Mercy Medical Center.
Warmer weather poses extra challenges to wearing masks. “Using common sense is the best approach to staying protected against COVID-19 while avoiding overheating,” said Maggie Eboso, Infection Control and Prevention coordinator at Mercy Medical Center.
Individuals are encouraged to wear a mask when indoors or in crowded outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible. If you must wear a mask outdoors, wear a mask that is light in color, as dark colors may become hotter. Breathe through your nose when wearing a mask, which will result in less heat and humidity within the mask. If you feel overheated, remove the mask and rest in a well-ventilated, cool area.
Eboso said the CDC recommends wearing face coverings in public settings where other social-distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations. The exceptions are children under age 2, those who have trouble breathing, and those who are unable to remove the mask without assistance.
To wear a face covering correctly:
• 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.
• Keep the covering on your face the entire time you’re in public.
• Don’t put the covering around your neck or up on your forehead.
• Don’t touch the face covering, and, if you do, wash your hands.
Take off your cloth face covering carefull, when you’re home. Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops. Handle only by the ear loops or ties, fold the outside corners together, and place the covering in the washing machine (cloth face coverings should be washed after each use). Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing, and wash your hands immediately after removing.
Finally, continue to follow everyday health habits. Stay at least six feet away from others, avoid contact with people who are sick, and wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds each time. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.