March 8, 2020

Masks

Two years ago I retired from working in clinical respiratory care for 38 years. Now that COVID-19 (a coronavirus) is spreading around the world, there has been some controversy in the United States about whether or not wearing a face mask is necessary or effective. From my own knowledge and experience, I can say unequivocally that wearing a face mask should be very important to everybody right now (in enclosed public places). It’s somewhat alarming for me to see that virtually no one is currently wearing a mask inside public places.

Frankly, the policy in business should be that all employees working indoors must wear a mask in the workplace. The public should be firmly advised to wear a mask inside all public places.

When I worked in health care, there was a strict policy that any employee that does not get a flu shot must wear a face mask in all patient areas.

The unfortunate thing right now is that masks are in very high demand and there are hardly even enough masks for the health care industry. Fortunately, people that cannot find factory-made masks can make their own mask out of cloth, which is better than nothing.

The serious problem with the flu is when a contagious person is coughing inside an enclosed area. The virus then becomes airborne and can remain suspended for a period of time; Others nearby can inhale the bug or get it into their eyes. In a hospital, active COVID-19 isolation is employing a “space suit” of protective attire and a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR).

We can all help reduce the spread of this virus by voluntarily wearing masks in public places.

Michael Hahn

Highland

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