Health care professionals have worn masks for years and they are especially important to them in places where there is a likelihood of high exposure to germs, like in a hospital setting.
However, for the average person, wearing a mask everyday does not keep viruses from infecting you.
According to Dr. Michael Chang, an infectious disease specialist with the University of Texas Health Science Center, wearing a mask when you are not sick essentially gives you a false sense of confidence that you don’t need to wash your hands as often, or not touch your face as much.
Many of the masks that people wear are made of cheap paper or cloth, they are ill fitting and allow seepage around the mouth.
Dr. Chang explains that masks can be uncomfortable and that may force a person to touch their face more often, exactly what you don’t want to do if your hands have been contaminated with the virus.
There’s also the problem of removing the mask. Many people use the same mask over and over again. When you remove the mask, contamination can occur when you take it off and then put it back on.
Health care professionals carefully discard a mask after one use and it’s disposed of as hazardous medical waste.
If you do have symptoms of COVID-19, wearing a mask can help lessen the chance of you exposing others by airborne transmission.