The Importance of Wearing a Mask

Wearing a mask in stores and other public areas protects others.

Many stores require you to wear one. If you are in school, you’re probably wearing one right now. Face masks have become an essential part of our everyday routines.

Why is it important to wear a mask right now?

Wearing a mask helps prevent the spread of COVID-19, the new coronavirus. Scientists have learned that this virus spreads in droplets when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or talks. Droplets with the virus travel through the air and can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. Masks act like barriers and stop most droplets from spreading in the air.

You might think, “Can’t people who are sick with COVID-19 just stay away from other people?” Yes, that helps stop the spread of the virus, too. But many people who have COVID-19 don’t know they are infected; they don’t have any symptoms. Without a mask, people can unknowingly spread the virus to someone who could develop serious symptoms. Wearing a mask helps protect people around you.

Who should wear a mask?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of two wear a mask.

When should you wear one?

According to the CDC, you should wear a mask when you are

  • in public, especially when you can’t be at least 6 feet apart from other people.
  • around other people who do not live in your home.

How should you wear it?

To be effective, a mask should cover your mouth and your nose, and fit snugly under your chin.

What Can You Do? Wearing a mask is one way to stay healthy and protect others. Here are some other things you can do:

  • Social distance. Stay at least six feet from others.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Photo Credit: Maria Sbytova/Shutterstock