COVID-19 has rapidly created a “new normal” for workers across industries. Where before only medical professionals were tasked with wearing protective facial coverings, today many states require citizens to wear a face mask when going outdoors. The shortage of face masks has caused Americans everywhere to make their own protective PPE out of old t-shirts, bandanas, and whatever else is lying around the house. Despite the prevalence of these masks, however, there are still plenty of misconceptions floating around about the important and proper use of PPE. Here are a few of the most common misconceptions about COVID-19 PPE.
- I Don’t Have to Wear PPE Outside
While some places are certainly more spacious than others, it’s important to wear COVID-protective PPE at all times. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has made it clear that everyone leaving their home needs to wear a mask in order to prevent the spread of the disease. While some of the details about COVID-19 remain confusing and vague, one thing we’re all aware of it how crucial it is to wear protective facial coverings whenever we’re outside of our homes, for the safety of ourselves and others.
- I Don’t Have to Clean My PPE
While those who use disposable masks are using their PPE for single-use trips outdoors, anyone wearing a protective covering made of cloth should definitely be washing it at least once a week. This is important not just for hygiene reasons: if you’ve made your mask out of an old piece of cloth, it’s important to wash it or at least sanitize it after going outdoors. Since disposable masks are made for this exact purpose, they’re built with a better filtration system that allows users to breathe easy while protecting themselves from exposure to COVID. Homemade masks, however, aren’t made for fighting COVID, so if you don’t want your PPE to start spreading more germs than it fights, washing your mask is a must.
- It’s Fine to Take My PPE Off in Public
This is definitely discouraged by the CDC as well as many state mandates. Since we’re trying to stop the spread of the disease by effectively starving it out, keeping masks on at all times is crucial in public. You may think it’s fine to take your mask off for a minute when no one’s around, but keep in mind that germs are still everywhere, and it’s just as important to keep yourself safe as it is to prevent any germ-spreading that you might be doing in public.
- As Long as Others are Wearing PPE, I’m Okay
Once again, this might seem logical on the surface, but in fact, the CDC’s plan of fighting COVID relies on everyone doing their part to keep their own germs from spreading. As long as you’re outside, you should be wearing your PPE over your face.
- Only Medical Workers Need PPE
In recent weeks, we’ve seen how important it is for everyone, not just medical workers, to wear facial coverings. Preventing the spread of germs through aerosols (think of how your germs spread when you sneeze) is one of the best ways we can keep COVID from making any more progress in the States.