Even after nearly two years of the COVID-19 Pandemic, many of us are still confused about face masks, when to wear them? what kind of mask? etc, etc. Using information from the most recent CDC update, we'll attempt to answer some of your most urgent face mask questions.
Q. Do I need to wear a mask outdoors?
A. "In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings...In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated."
Q. Do I need to wear a mask indoors?
A. "Everyone 2 years or older who is not fully vaccinated should wear a mask in indoor public places...If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection and prevent possibly spreading COVID-19 to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission...People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider."
Q. Do I still need to wear a mask while taking public transportation (planes, buses, trains, etc)?
A. "Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and train stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus)."
Q. How do I wear a mask with my beard?
A. "Certain types of facial hair, like beards, can make mask fitting difficult. Masks that fit well protect you better. To have a better fit, people with beards can shave their beards or trim their beards close to the face...For people with beards that are not trimmed close to the face, masks may fit loosely around the beard. However, people with beards should still wear a mask. Masks designed for people with beards are being evaluated, and information will be provided when it becomes available."
Other ways to improve fit:
- Use a mask fitter or brace.
- Wear one disposable mask underneath a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric. The second mask should push the edges of the inner mask against the face and beard.
Q. Do small children need to wear masks?
A. "Do NOT put a mask on children younger than 2 years old."
For other children:
"Find a mask that is made for children to help ensure proper fit...Check to be sure the mask fits snugly over the nose and mouth and under the chin and that there are no gaps around the sides."
Q. Will wearing a mask cause me to breathe in too much carbon dioxide (CO2)?
A. "Wearing a mask does not raise the carbon dioxide (CO2) level in the air you breathe. Cloth masks and surgical masks do not provide an airtight fit across the face. The CO2 escapes into the air through the mask when you breathe out or talk. CO2 molecules are small enough to easily pass through mask material. In contrast, the respiratory droplets that carry the virus that causes COVID-19 are much larger than CO2, so they cannot pass as easily through a properly designed and properly worn mask."
For more information on these and many other questions, including questions about people with disabilities and masks, what kind of mask to wear, washing and caring or masks, and more, please visit the CDC website and read "Your Guide to Masks."
Primis Medical carries a large selection of disposable masks including KN95 and N95 face masks. We recommend these masks because they offer a much higher level of filtration than typical cloth masks, form a tight seal to the face and provide superior protection from viruses and airborne particles.