With rates of COVID-19 spiking in certain regions, while the country begins reopening, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) continues to urge everyone to cover their face when in public.
Mounting evidence shows that the virus can infect anyone and that people can spread the virus before they even know they have it. Wearing a cloth or homemade mask during those infrequent times when you need to be out in public, like going to the grocery store, will help prevent sick individuals from infecting others and slow the spread of the virus.
In essence, covering your face protects you and those around you from infectious droplets emitted when someone talks, breathes, coughs, or sneezes. These particles can remain airborne for up to three hours. Personal choices and safe behaviors are the best defense against COVID-19.
When deciding on a mask, it's better for the public to use a cloth or homemade option, rather than the N95, the tighter fitting mask designed for professional use. However, masks with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled out through holes in the material. This can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, CDC does not recommend using masks if they have an exhalation valve or vent.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone above the age of two should wear a face covering to minimize the risk of contracting, and spreading COVID-19 while in public settings.
While it's important to always know when to go to the emergency room, social distancing and staying home as much as possible are still the best ways to help flatten the curve and prevent our health care system from becoming overwhelmed.
Building our on #StayStafeCoveryourFace social campaign, ACEP is partnering with the American Medical Association (AMA) & other medical experts to encourage those who need to be out in public spaces to Mask Up. Do your part to help our health care heroes by sharing social posts, videos, and other expert approved content with your friends, family, and loved ones to help stop the spread of COVID-19.