A GUIDE TO WHAT TO KNOW
Part 2: Helpful Hints to Stay Well
BY JUDY PARIS, RN, BSN, MSN
After saying that only the sick needed to wear
protective face masks, the CDC switched course
on April 3 and announced that people should
wear masks when they are in public. Why the
sudden change? New evidence suggests that
people without symptoms may be spreading
the disease. The new policy aims to protect the
unexposed from people with symptoms and
April 13th 2020: CDC recommends wearing
cloth face coverings in public settings where
other social distancing measures are difficult to
maintain (e.g., grocery stores), especially areas of
significant community-based transmission. They
are not a substitute for physical distancing and
other prevention measures. Masks fall into three
basic categories -- surgical, N95 respirator, and
homemade. Each have pros and cons.
Surgical masks are intended to block bac-terial
germs transmitted through secretions,
sprays, splashes and large-particle droplets from
entering the mouth or nose. They’re disposable,
loose-fitting and should be thrown away after
use. Easy to wear and effective, but not able to
filter most viral particles.
N95 Respirator Masks Circular or oval-shaped
masks designed to form a seal around
your face, fitting much tighter than surgical
masks. They aren’t as disposable as surgical
masks; you can continue using them as long
as they form a seal. Downsides- It’s difficult
to breath while wearing them. Some include
an exhalation valve, making it easier for the
wearer to breath; many still find it difficult.
Facial movements such as laughing, yawning
and coughing can break the seal, leaving you
vulnerable to germ transmission. Personal note: I
use to wear these in the hospital but they fogged
up my glasses, not good!
Homemade Masks Cotton
clothing can be used to make
masks that filter about as well as
normal surgical masks. The thicker
the material the better it works.
Don’t need a sewing machine. Lots
of instructions online including
CDC website: www.cdc.com.
CDC: Cloth face coverings
fit snugly but comfortably
against the side of the face
be secured with ties or ear loops
include multiple layers of fabric
allow for breathing without
be able to be laundered and
machine dried without damage
or change to shape Some rec-ommended
doubled up 600-thread count pil-lowcases
or flannel pajamas, you
could make a mask that provides
up to 60 percent filtration. Other materials that
can be used to filter out dangerous particles
include HEPA filters, vacuum cleaner bags,
and quilter’s cotton. Be careful of materials
like household air filters that may contain
fiberglass. Hold the material up to the light.
If you can see light through the fabric, that’s
probably not as good as something that you
can’t see light through. The thicker it is, the
denser it is, the more likely it’s going to filter
Make sure the majority of your nose and
your entire mouth is covered.
If there are gaps between your face and the
mask, the air will go around the mask rather
than through it, negating the benefits.
Ensuring a proper fit can also help you avoid
frequently readjusting your mask, which can
lead to cross-contamination.
Pick up by the ties when put on or take off
Wash your hands before putting it on and
after taking off.
Cross contamination occurs when someone
touches under their mask or touches someone
or a surface (a door handle, a box or can in the
grocery store) and then touches their mask.
Disposable masks can likely be used all day
in public areas but should not be reused on
another day unless they were used very briefly
or can be sanitized or cleaned in some way.
HOW LONG DOES THE VIRUS LAST
April 7th 2020: NIH found virus can survive
up to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel.
It was detected on copper up to 4 hours, on
cardboard up to 24 hours and it can also lin-ger
in tiny particles in the air for up to three
hours. It’s important to note that the amount
of virus decreases rapidly over time on each
of those surfaces. The risk of infection from
touching them would probably decrease over
time as well.
April 9th 2020: CDC “current evidence
suggests that the virus may remain viable for
hours to days on surfaces made from a variety
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that
are touched frequently is important. To dis-infect
use products containing at least 70%
alcohol. Surfaces like doorknobs, handles,
switches, electronic and more are high touch
For electronics follow the manufacturer’s
instructions. If no manufacturer guidance avail-able,
use alcohol-based wipes containing at
least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens.
Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of
TAKE OUT & DELIVERY
April 8, 2020: CDC and the FDA.
Currently no evidence that the corona-virus
can be transmitted through food or
food packaging. From what we know cur-rently
know it’s safe to eat food prepared at
restaurants so long as you take the proper
precautions, in particular hand-washing. If
14 NORTH SHORE TOWERS COURIER ¢ May 2020