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Wear it so it works: Oklahoma health official weighs in on mask safety

Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 6:27 PM CDT
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ARDMORE, Oklahoma (KXII) - A new study in the journal of Nature Medicine estimates that if most Americans wore masks in public, more than 100,000 lives could be saved from COVID-19 between now and the end of February.

Lorraine Acevedo-Cardona works for the Oklahoma State Health Department as the Local Emergency Response Coordinator. She said the research shows if they’re worn properly, masks do help.

Coughing, sneezing, and even talking sprays droplets out of your body and into the air, which is how Acevedo-Cardona said the virus spreads.

“The virus is contained by droplets that you expel by either by talking, breathing, singing, normal activities,” Acevedo-Cardona said.

She said masks contain the droplets, helping to stop the virus from spreading to other people. Masks can also help with a more familiar illness-- the flu.

“Even before the pandemic, if you tested positive for the flu they would usually mask you up,” Acevedo-Cardona said.

She said to stay useful, masks need to be clean and dry.

“Treat it like underwear,” Acevedo-Cardona said. “Wash it every day. Don’t wear a dirty mask.”

Acevedo-Cardona said masks also need to be worn properly.

“You cover your nose, make sure it’s tight around your nose, and covering your mouth,” Acevedo-Cardona said. “Make sure there aren’t any big gaps in your mask, and that it doesn’t ride up to much .”

It’s hard to know if your coworkers are sick, which is why the health department recommends keeping it on at work.

“Just try to keep your mask on at all times when you’re around people outside of your household,” Acevedo-Cardona said.

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