Answering your questions about face masks amid COVID-19


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Emergency Medicine Physician Dr. Sharon Chekijian, with Yale Medicine, answered your questions about face masks amid COVID-19.

Do you need to wear a mask if social distancing? Yes, she says mostly to protect the other person.

“It greatly decreases the spread of the virus by containing any coughs or sneezes, and respiratory droplets that we have all been hearing about,” said Chekijian.

How do you properly wear a mask against coronavirus? Not this way.

 “I’ve seen this, where the mask is hanging down and people are talking on the phone.  And of course, you’ve seen this,” she says as she points to a mask pulled under the chin.

Keep it on for the most part, she says. Wash or sanitize hands before covering the nose and mouth.  

For the N-95 mask, take the bottom straps and attach below the ear. The top straps — over the ear.

She adds as she demonstrates, “you’re going to form the metal bar against your nose.  And you’re going to breathe out and feel if you have any leakage there, if you do, that mask may not be a great fit.  If you do, adjust the bar again.”

Wearing a cloth mask?

“This one is not going to form a tight seal and you’re just going to put loops over ears.”

How do you keep eyeglasses from fogging up?

“It sometimes helps to put the glasses over the cloth part, you know, covering your nose so it’s not directly in the line of respiration that maybe leaking out.”  

There could be a leak with the N-95, if glasses do fog.  

Can you disinfect the medical grade mask before reusing?

“Ordinary folks at home should not be disinfecting the mask.  The most effective way of making sure there is no live virus on the mask is to let it sit for a couple of days in your house without reusing it.”  

After throwing the cloth one in the laundry, Dr. Chekijian says you can use it again.   

She says that wearing a mask is also a reminder not to touch your face. An observation study revealed that on average, we do it 23 times an hour.

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