Wearing masks is now a part of many people’s daily lives due to COVID-19, but there is still some confusion over what type of mask to wear. Health experts say masks are essential for helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Health experts say it is important to wear either a cloth or surgical mask when out in public.
“Out in public a cloth mask is acceptable because that is preventing you from spreading anything you might be carrying,” said HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital Nurse Michelle Willcutt.
Willcutt says while cloth and surgical masks work for being out in public, health care workers need to wear N-95 masks.
“When they’re caring for patients who are positive for COVID, they should be wearing the N-95 respirators. The N-95 is designed to prevent you from inhaling the droplet particles so it protects the wearer,” Willcutt said.
Health experts say while N-95 masks are more effective, they are made for healthcare workers. While you might not feel as comfortable going out in public without one, it is still important that you wear either a cloth mask or a surgical mask.
Willcutt says the general public does not need an N-95 mask. She says in order for one to be effective, you need to be fit tested for it. N-95 fit tests are typically only done for health care workers. If you order one online, it is most likely not going to be effective to wear in public.
“If we don’t protect our community, we very well could all end up sick and I would be willing to bet the mask is much more comfortable than a ventilator,” said Willcutt.