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10 Reasons You Must Wear a Face Mask Right Now

One thin layer could protect you (and us) from the deadly virus.
Woman face mask portrait

The U.S. government is reportedly reconsidering its guidance on face masks and may ask Americans to wear homemade face coverings outside their homes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, aka COVID-19. Meanwhile, face masks are in short supply at medical centers—and selling out on Amazon. We talked to doctors who made the case for wearing a face mask. Here are their 10 reasons why you should wear one now.

1

You'll Have a Barrier

woman in protective sterile medical mask on her face looking at camera outdoors, on asian street show palm, hand, stop no sign
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"Coughing and sneezing are the main way the virus goes into the environment and contaminates the air or different surfaces," says Dr. Dimitar Marinov.

"Wearing a face mask can help you stop spreading a virus and also help small aspects of contracting a virus," says Dr. Giuseppe Aragona, General Practitioner & Medical Advisor at Prescription Doctor.  "If someone sneezed on your face, the mask may help. If you are the one sneezing, you are putting a barrier between you and that person."

2

You Would Help Us Get Back to Our Normal Lives

Young woman with face mask walking through grocery store during COVID-19 pandemic.
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"The idea is that it protects the person wearing the mask and protects the individuals that the person with the mask comes into contact with," says Dr. Johnny Franco, a board-certified plastic surgeon. "The mask will help decrease the spread of COVID-19."

"If everyone took these safety and hygiene regiments seriously, we would be able to flatten the curve and return back to normal faster," says Dr. Aragona.

3

You Won't Touch Your Face

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"COVID-19 can be transferred from fomites or objects to your eyes, nose, and mouth by your hands and cause infection," says Dr. Leann Poston.

"A face mask reminds you not to touch your face which protects you from coronavirus on your hands," says Dr. Kate Tulenko.

4

You Could be an Asymptomatic Carrier

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"It protects others in case you are one of the 25% silent carriers," says Dr. Tulenko. Even if you aren't showing symptoms, you could still have the disease and unknowingly pass it onto others.

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5

You Make a Statement

Portrait young confident man wearing face mask for protection against chinese coronavirus COVID-19
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According to Dr. Tulenko, wearing a mask "provides a positive 'social proof' to others that they should be taking the pandemic more seriously."

6

You're Considered High Risk

Doctor explaining lungs x-ray on computer screen to patient
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"For many health care workers that are in high-risk positions the masks have become a common recommendation at certain facilities," says Dr. Franco. "Individuals that are at high risk with multiple medical conditions and or lung disease should also consider wearing a mask."

7

You are Sick

Woman sick cold
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"If you have symptoms, such as cough, fever, fatigue, and loss of smell/taste, or you have been in contact with someone ill, you should always wear a mask around people," says Dr. Marinov. 

8

You are a Health Worker

Portrait of asian woman doctor wear protection face mask showing a patient some information on digital tablet clip board, patient listen to specialist doctor in clinic office
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Masks like N95 respirators, face shields, and surgical masks are all in short supply. And they are particularly important for healthcare providers who are in close proximity of patients with known COVID-19. Wearing masks will help health workers protect themselves and their families from the virus, as there's less chance they'll get infected and bring it home. 

9

You're a Caretaker

Sick woman in medical mask lying on the bed is given glass of water to take pills. Family care for the sick concept
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You should protect yourself and others! According to Dr. Marinov, you should "wear a mask if you are taking care of someone ill. It will reduce the risk of you getting infected as well."

10

You'll Help the Health Workers

10 Reasons You Must Wear a Face Mask Now
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"If you are wearing a mask, it enables your health worker to wear a mask and protect themselves," says Dr. Tulenko. "Many hospitals are not allowing health workers to wear masks with non-COVID patients and they are being fired over it."

And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 40 Things You Should Never Touch Due to Coronavirus.

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Emilia Paluszek
Emilia specializes in human biology and psychology at the University at Albany. Read more