The Truth About Face Masks

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there's been lots of buzz about covering your face. Here's the truth about face masks. I'm not sick. Should I have to wear a face mask? Yes. COVID-19 can be spread by people with no symptoms, who don't even know they're sick. And as many as 35% of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic. Wearing a mask goes a long way to protect people around you.

Doesn't wearing a mask cause carbon dioxide poisoning? No. Wearing a mask won't cause carbon dioxide poisoning. Although an airtight mask might make it a little harder to breathe, that doesn't include cloth masks or N95 respirators.

Do masks actually help protect the person who wears them? Yes. Masks can help block infectious particles in the air and reduce the amount you breathe in. One study found that wearing a mask can reduce the risk of infection by 79%.

Does wearing a mask cause a drop in blood oxygen levels? No. Doctors wear masks for very long periods of time, even all day, in lots of cases. Masks are designed to be breathable, and there's no evidence that suggest wearing masks will cause a drop in oxygen levels.

Will wearing a mask weaken your immune system? No. There's zero evidence that wearing a face mask will lower or weaken your immune system.

Do you still need to social distance with a mask on? Yes. You still need to practice social distancing when you're wearing a mask. Every step you take, like distancing and good handwashing, lowers your risk further. The CDC recommends wearing a face mask and staying at least six feet apart from others to best stop the spread of COVID-19.

The bottom line? Face masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID when you wear them in public. Researchers have predicted that if 80% of us wear masks, we could do more to suppress the spread of coronavirus than a strict lockdown. So do your part and mask up.