Face masks selling fast amid concerns over coronavirus

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OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (WTNH) — “Pull it under your chin and you pinch the nose,” explained Steven Costanzo, the pharmacy manager at The Medicine Shoppe in Old Saybrook, while he demonstrated the correct way of putting on a face mask.

“You really don’t want to see any air here or here or under the chin,” said Costanzo.

He said they usually don’t sell many face masks. That is until recently. More customers are now coming in asking for them,

“They’re concerned about the coronavirus of course,” said Costanzo.

RELATED: Coronavirus declared global health emergency by WHO after 1st person-to-person US case reported

Some pharmacies are running low on the masks.

“We had actually to replace our stock so and now if you look in our systems we are backordered in getting masks,” said Costanzo.

Most people use these masks in high trafficked areas like in an airport or on a bus.

But Costanzo cautions that you should really only use them once. Not only for sanitary reasons but also because once the thin metal strip, which forms a seal over the nose, is bent, it might not seal as well the next time.

Overseas, many are wearing the masks while out in public. They do provide protection from some exposure.

“This is more basic to prevent if people are going to be coughing on you or you’re in close proximity to people and you know the mist is in the air,” said Costanzo.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Symptoms, treatment and prevention

But he said washing your hands is still a more effective way to protect against germs and getting a flu shot could help even though it doesn’t specifically protect against the coronavirus.

“They would have some coverage for flu so hopefully that would lessen their symptoms or reduce the duration of illness,” said Costanzo.

The Medicine Shoppe still has packs of five face masks in stock and will also give individual masks out for free to those concerned while supplies last. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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