Wear a mask. Nearly every health expert and organization, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, emphasize that protective face coverings are one of the fundamental prevention measures when it comes to COVID-19. However, there is one mask mistake that many people are making that is majorly compromising their health, according to infectious disease expert Dr. Anne Rimoin, Professor of Epidemiology at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Infectious Disease Division of the Geffen School of Medicine. In fact, it is worse than walking out of your house with no mask at all. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Don't Make This Face Mask Mistake
While most types of face coverings are scientifically proven to prevent the spread of COVID-19, keeping those tiny, virus-infected droplets from traveling person-to-person, some forms can actually encourage the spread.
"Certain face coverings like bandanas and gaiters actually break up a cough into smaller droplets, therefore increasing the distance the virus can be spread," Dr. Rimoin reveals.
Since the start of the pandemic, research has been divided as to the effectiveness of gaiters and bandanas. Initially the CDC warned against using them. However, now they suggest wearing a gaiter "with two layers, or fold it to make two layers."
Masks they discourage wearing altogether include those that do not fit properly (large gaps, too loose or too tight), any masks made from materials that are hard to breathe through (such as plastic or leather) or from loosely woven fabric or that are knitted, i.e., fabrics that let light pass through, one-layer masks, masks with exhalation valves or vents or wearing a scarf/ski mask as a mask.
How to Test Your Mask
Dr. Rimoin's tip: the more layers the merrier. "You always want to look for three layers of protection," she says. She also reveals an at-home test you can conduct to see just how effective your mask is. "Try the match test," she suggests. "Wear your mask and try to blow out a candle. If you're successful the mask isn't that effective."
How to Survive This Pandemic
As for yourself, follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.