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7 COVID-19 face mask myths that you should not fall for

002 face-ready in-vehicle dashboard

Even if you are not sick, you should still wear a face mask.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Visit the WHO website for the latest updates and information on the coronavirus pandemic.

Wearing a face mask is mandatory now in many US states in places there social distancing is not possible, as a grocery store or hair salon. This is to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even President Donald Trump, who has long refused to wear one, tweeted a photo of himself wearing a face mask in July, calling the mask-wearing a “patriotic act.”

Although we still have a lot to learn about coronavirus, circulates incorrect information about face coatings. For example, some people who oppose worm-wearing have begun to donate worm masks that “cover” their nose and mouth but still allow drops known to transmit the virus. And others believe that they do not have to wear a mask if they do not experience symptoms – it is a myth that is not supported by leading health experts, doctors, researchers or national and international recommendations.

Here are seven myths about wearing face masks during the pandemic. This story is often updated with new information and takes recommendations from the CDC, the World Health Organization and other health care institutions. It is intended for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. If you think you may have coronavirus, follow these steps.

Read more: Where to buy a face mask online now

Myth 1: Coronavirus is not real, so masking is not necessary

More than 18.9 million confirmed cases and over 716,000 coronavirus deaths worldwide have been reported worldwide. Yet some still believe that the virus is either cool or excessive. The United States alone has had nearly 5 million confirmed cases and more than 161,000 deaths. CNET’s Science Editor Jackson Ryan, who holds a Ph.D. in medical clinical science, calls antivaccine conspiracies “dangerous and poorly informed“.

Marketwatch reported in July that about one in three Americans believe that coronavirus has not killed as many people as reported. A study shows that people are more likely to believe false information about coronavirus if they get their news from social media.

Many believe that a 26-minute video touting of conspiracy theories, called Plandemic, and its subsequent distribution via social media, is partly responsible for spreading COVID-19 truths. These falsehoods have been repeatedly debunked by the medical and scientific communities.

If you go out in public or around people who are not in your household, wear a face mask to protect yourself and others. You or the other person may be ill without your knowledge, either because you are asymptomatic, presymptomatic or incorrect symptoms for other causes, e.g. allergies. People who are relieved can spread the virus to other populations, including loved ones who are on higher risk to develop severe forms of COVID-19.

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Myth 2: Masks can be made of any material as long as the face is covered

With a subgroup of people against the idea of ​​wearing face masks (“anti-masks”), several sellers offer online mesh and lace masks for purchase. The suppliers claim that the masks are more breathable. But an open tissue does not fulfill the function of catching large droplets of breathing – from talking, coughing and sneezing – which may contain coronavirus.

The best masks have a hard knitted material and a filter pocket to prevent respiratory droplets from passing through the mask. The most protective masks N95 respiratory protection, block 95% of small particles, including viruses, but during the pandemic they have been difficult to come by and organizations have said that medical and healthcare workers should be given first dibs.

A study (PDF) from the University of Arizona found that wearing a face coat reduced the risk of infection by 24% for a simple cotton coat and up to 99% for a professional, medical grade filtration mask. The researchers too ranked face mask material from most to least effective in their tests.

Read more: These face masks were made only for children

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Wear a mask even if you do not experience symptoms.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Myth 3: Only sick people need to wear face masks

Just because you do not experience Covid19 symptom does not mean you are not sick. The CDC cites more than a dozen studies that show asymptomatic or presymptomatic people can still spread the coronavirus, even if they are not aware that they are sick.

The earliest WHO recommendations supported the view that healthy people did not need to wear masks, but after more evidence emerged, the organization updated its official recommendation.

To prevent the virus from being transmitted to others, it is safest to wear a mask when you are in someone who is not in your household. It helps to lower risk of spreading droplets from talking, coughing and sneezing.

There is growing evidence that coronavirus can be airborne, which means that it can linger in the air long enough for someone to inhale it and become infected. Wearing a mask forms a barrier that traps virus-containing droplets released by the wearer. In other words, if you do not wear a worm and breathe the same air as an infected person who does not wear a worm, your risk of getting coronavirus increases.

Read: MIT engineers design a reusable face mask that can be as effective as an N95

Myth 4: Wearing a medical mask causes you to inhale more carbon dioxide

When worn properly, masks cover the bridge of the nose (above the nostrils) and extend under the chin without gaps on the sides, covering the nose and mouth completely.

Some suggest that medical masks (also known as surgical masks) capture carbon dioxide exhalation and cause you to breathe in more CO2. The WHO says that long-term use of surgical masks does not lead to CO2 poisoning or lack of oxygen.

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Masks are just one step in preventing coronavirus from spreading.

Anne Dujmovic / CNET

Myth 5: You do not need social distances if you wear a mask

People wear masks to reduce their chance of getting or spreading coronavirus, as if they are in a crowded market, by the pool or the lake or walk to the center. However, the WHO says that the use of masks alone is not enough to provide a sufficient amount of protection. Unlike N95 masks, which undergo a certification process, there is no regulatory body that governs materials or process that goes into face masks you buy or do at home.

For example, a fabric mask with only one fabric layer is not considered as robust as a fabric mask with three layers and a filter. Meanwhile, N95 masks are certified, but after a critical shortage that risks working in the front line, organizations have said that they should be left for healthcare professionals.

Along with mask use, you should continue to exercise physical distance, wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.

Read more: How to vacation safely during the coronavirus pandemic

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Myth 6: Masks weaken your immune system

This myth stems from the idea that the human immune system is strengthened by exposure to bacteria and other pathogens.

The American Lung Association says there is no scientific evidence that wearing a mask weakens the immune system. But even if someone receiving COVID-19 is young and healthy, without pre-existing conditions, there is evidence that they can and do become seriously ill or are responsible for the spread of coronavirus. For example, in California as of August 5, the age group with the highest number of reported cases was 18-34, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Children are also at risk develop a fatal syndrome caused by coronavirus, although rare. However, it should not be taken lightly as the schools reopen across the country.

Washing your hands and wearing a mask does not adversely affect your immune system, especially in adults who have already developed immune systems, according to Beaumont Health. If you are worried about having a weakened constitution, here it is five ways to strengthen your immune system.

Myth 7: Fabric masks provide no protection against COVID-19

At the beginning of the pandemic, the coronavirus was so new that doctors were unsure to what extent clothing in face coatings or homemade masks – compared to medical-grade surgical or N95 masks – would help prevent the virus from spreading.

However, studies have suggested that a mask over the nose and mouth acts as a physical barrier against respiratory droplets that can carry and spread the coronavirus. Although a cloth covering alone may not completely prevent anyone from acquiring coronavirus, CDC Director Robert Redfield said in July that if everyone wore a mask, the COVID spread would be possible to contain.

Other countries that required the use of masks early in the pandemic have seen the spread of coronavirus slow, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Do you need more information about face masks? here is where you can buy one online, how to make your face mask more comfortable and that best and worst materials to protect against coronavirus.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider if you have questions about a medical condition or health goal.

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