Health care workers discuss importance of wearing face masks

Health care workers discuss importance of wearing face masks

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) -The CDC is recommending people to wear face masks in public settings.

Infection Preventionist, Meagan Garibay said wearing a mask is not so much for your own protection, but to protect others around you.

“Obviously if everyone is wearing masks there’s a lot better protection just across the board, but really it’s to keep you from whenever you talk, if you cough, or sneeze to keep those droplets from being expelled out of your mouth into the air, or other surfaces where people may touch them or touch their mouth or their nose," said Garibay.

The CDC recommends health care providers wear N95 masks when caring for Covid positive patients. Garibay said it’s important to preserve those for health care workers.

“Somebody that’s a lay person just out at the grocery store doesn’t really need an N95 because number one they should be practicing social distancing. They’re going to be 6 feet away from people ideally, so that risk is not as high for them as a nurse or doctor at the bedside, or respiratory therapist that is doing a lot of up close and personal stuff in that person’s face," said Garibay.

However, when it comes to protecting yourself, Infection Preventionist, Chris Godman said a face mask can be made from different materials.

“So you can use pretty much any fabric. We’ve seen things from bandannas to pillow cases, and even some blanket material was used. Again it really doesn’t matter the actual material, it just matters that you have this barrier protection in place," said Godman.

Garibay said if you have a cloth mask to wash it daily and avoid touching your face or the mask without washing your hands first. They encourage everyone to practice good hygiene.

“Wash your hands, use your hand sanitizer. Make sure that that hand sanitizer is 60% alcohol, anything less than that isn’t quite effective against most bacteria and viruses, so make sure you have that good concentration," said Godman.

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