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To mask or not to mask

Disasters   (1,591 Views | 14 Replies)

RNNPICU has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in PICU.

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So I have been having some discussions with nurses and non-health care people about use of masks.

I think because I see so many people inappropriately using masks, even N95 that look like they are an inappropriate size, and are wearing it just because. Sigh,

However, CDC is now recommending a cloth masks for everyone to go to the grocery store? I am not fully understanding how this is protecting against COVID or even spread. If I had sneezed or even just basic moisture accumulation from breathing can make the cloth mask wet and therefore ineffective. I guess I don't feel like I trust a cloth material.

A friend of the family stated they wore one to the store and then once in the car tossed it into the back seat. Another friend said they will do it to protect the 80 year old grocery store shoppper. They are asymptomatic and no known exposures

I see people running outside with masks on and just think with sweat and breathing patterns that this would render them ineffective.

I need to wear a mask at work, but am doubtful of the effectiveness of a cloth mask or bandana at home.

What are some of your thoughts. I don't want to diminish the importance of wearing a mask when medically necessary, but I might be feeling a little bitter about the one mask per week or until soiled deal.

Edited by RNNPICU

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9 Followers; 3,807 Posts; 28,943 Profile Views

If everyone masks in the community then everyone keeps their droplets to themselves because the mask is not meant to protect the individual it’s meant to protect everyone else. Even a wet mask is going to stop droplets from being spewed everywhere. But this only works if every single person wears one. By now you should also know that being asymptomatic means absolutely nothing and how can anyone be sure they have not been exposed? I’m not opposed to masking in public as a means to decrease exposure but don’t get me started on the public wearing gloves.

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StrwbryblndRN has 9 years experience and specializes in CMSRN.

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Agree with Wuzzie. Whether it is tossed in the back seat or not. It keeps the droplet from spewing when worn.

I have worn a cloth mask all shift. Unless you are drooling, it does not get extremely wet. (Where I work a mask, cloth or otherwise, is expected while in the building). By wearing any barrier, it helps to keep hands off your face too. It is not the perfect scenario but it is definitely something.

Unless data is presented that wearing cloth masks has negative outcomes, I do not see an issue with having an extra layer, although imperfect.

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RNNPICU has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in PICU.

1,137 Posts; 12,679 Profile Views

Thank you Wuzzie and StwbrybindRN for your replies. Yes, Wuzzie, I do know that many are asymptomatic, I wasn't intentionally trying to insinuate otherwise. I think the hard part for me is I would like to see clinical evidence that the cloth mask works. I understand that it is a barrier, but what about nylon or spandex material type masks. If we are moving towards universal masking, what truly counts as a barrier.

ALthough I am definitely one to follow guidelines, two weeks ago the CDC wasn't recommending universal masking, now it is voluntary. This can send mixed messages.

I am not trying to come accross as anti-masking or anti-protecting others etc, just wanting to make sure that when these recommendations and guidelines come out that it isn't something to do because everyone does it.

StrwbryblndRN you do make a good point about any barrier may work even if it is imperfect.

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llg has 43 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

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Even helping reduce the spread a little is better than not helping reduce the spread at all.

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CampyCamp has 18 years experience as a RN.

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There is definitely some better evidence out there as far as protecting others and even the mask wearer. One study does show higher infection rates in cloth mask wearers vs control group but it came out that some in the control wore nothing, others wore surgical masks. Otherwise, I suspect that a false sense of bravado was involved. Some are early investigations into Covid transmission, others study past SARS and flu. I've searched them slo often for people, I should have made a list but didn't. As for the back tracking, CDCs mistake was telling people not to wear them.

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RN-to- BSN has 6 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in SCRN.

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On 4/5/2020 at 8:59 PM, RNNPICU said:

I see people running outside with masks on

Haha, running with a mask on makes for a very short of breath exercise.

Edited by RN-to- BSN
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RN-to- BSN has 6 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in SCRN.

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Universal masking now in my hospital. Our facility gave us cheap masks on the way in, a brown paper bag to keep it there for a week! We are expected to wear a mask while entering the building, so this means take the brown bag with a soiled mask to my car after the shift, so I can wear it next time before entering the building? Nope, the cheap-*** mask went into the trash right after my shift. I have a box at home, and wear a new one every time. So far so good.

At the grocery stores I don't wear any mask. People are 50/50 at the grocery store. For the really freaked out ones that start talking about corona virus to me, I just tell them they probably already had the corona virus and leave it at that.

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HiddenAngels has 7 years experience.

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On 4/5/2020 at 9:59 PM, RNNPICU said:

However, CDC is now recommending a cloth masks for everyone to go to the grocery store? -

Where are all these people supposed to get these mask if we can't even get them? I'm stumped..

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HiddenAngels has 7 years experience.

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On 4/5/2020 at 9:59 PM, RNNPICU said:

I think because I see so many people inappropriately using masks, even N95 that look like they are an inappropriate size, and are wearing it just because. Sigh

...and can't forget the inappropriate use of never changing gloves.. gloves touching door knobs, gas pumps, wawa doors, wawa machines, money, groceries, cellphone, the face mask, the strollers....

Make it make sense 🤨

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llg has 43 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

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11 hours ago, HiddenAngels said:

Where are all these people supposed to get these mask if we can't even get them? I'm stumped..

I made a few cloth masks with a new pillowcase I had purchased, but not used yet. It just took a needle and thread to hand-sew it -- and scissors to cut -- and shoelaces to use as ties. Not fancy, but it was easy and cheap and seems to do the job.

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