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Face Mask Mistake Makes You More Likely to Catch COVID

Half-masking could compromise your health as well as the health of others.
woman putting on a medical disposable mask.

Wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and virtually every health expert on the planet. However, if you aren't wearing your mask correctly, you are making yourself—as well as others—vulnerable to the virus, according to a new study. Read on—and to keep yourself and others safe during this pandemic, don't miss this essential list of the Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

The Mistake is Wearing Your Mask Under Your Nose

Due to the fact that wearing a mask can become uncomfortable, especially in the heat, some people tend to pull their facial covering below their nose. According to a new study published in the journal Cell, this is one of the biggest mask faux pas you can make. Why? Researchers found that there are specific areas where COVID-19 is most likely to cause infection. 

To execute the study, researchers created a SARS-CoV-2 reporter virus, labeling it with a fluorescent protein. Because of the brightness, they could find where it was and how it infected the respiratory tract. 

"Interestingly, it was observed that the nasal regions had a higher susceptibility of SARS-CoV-2 infections, with subsequent seeding to the lower respiratory tract due to aspiration," Sunitha Posina, MD, explained to Men's Health.

In other words, "the nose holds more potential to become infected compared to the remaining of the respiratory tract (such as the throat and lungs)," she continued. "When someone does not wear a mask, they are more likely to become infected when they inhale through their nose."

If an individual is wearing a mask that isn't covering their nose, if they inhale "they are likely to generate more potent infectious particles than if they exhaled via mouth, given that the nose has cells that have a higher affinity to become infected in comparison to the rest of the respiratory tract," she continues.

Don't Make These Other Face Mask Mistakes 

Half-masking isn't the only mistake you can make that will compromise your health as well as the health of others. Others include sharing masks with others, not cleaning your mask regularly, wearing a mask that doesn't fit correctly, or even wearing the wrong type of mask. Additionally, face masks are not equally effective. A recent study courtesy of Duke University ranked every type of facial covering from best to worst, finding that some—fleece gators and bandanas—were not very effective in protecting against the virus. While unsurprisingly, N95 masks were the most effective, they also found that simple cloth face coverings provide excellent protection. 

As for yourself, keep that mask up, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, try not to catch it in the first place and don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

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