Hospital staff answers questions regarding homemade, disposable mask protection from COVID-19

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Officials from hard hit cities of COVID-19 are urging residents to cover their nose and mouths if they go outside during the pandemic. But Angela Rivera with Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital warned while facial protection does help, they are not 100% effective.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained you need to replace your mask every time you come into contact with a person.

“They say surgical mask should be disposed of after every patient and encounter,” Rivera said. “So if you are out and about and you talk to someone, ideally we throw them away between patients.”

Rivera explained even though homemade is not as effective as N95’s or surgical masks, those who have no choice should choose ones made of a thick cloth-like fabric, which includes cotton. Yet, its full ability to protect you could be compromised, especially for men with facial hair.

“You really want your mask to have a seal,” Rivera said. “If you have facial hair you can’t get as tight of a seal and facial hair can carry more germs.”

While covering your face can help, Rivera said the best weapons against this virus is to stay home, and stick to washing those hands.

“So people who think they have a respiratory illness or COVID-19… wearing a mask will protect you from giving it to somebody else,” Rivera said.

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