Should I wear a face mask or not? That’s the question many Canadians have been asking since the outbreak of COVID-19, and now there’s some official answers. On Wednesday, Canada’s leading Public Health Official explained the do’s and don’ts of COVID-19 face masks, and her advice is pretty helpful!

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada, the country has had a shortage of two things: Toilet paper and medical masks. 

While the former has forced superstores to implement stock limits and no-return policies, the latter has caused some pretty serious health concerns across the country.

With so many questions about medical mask shortages, home-made COVID-19 face masks, and the general effectiveness of these face coverings, Canada’s leading Public Health Official has taken to Twitter to share some answers.

On Thursday evening, Dr. Tam acknowledged, “There is a lot of discussion on the use of face masks.”

“It can help to break the discussion into two main considerations regarding the TYPE of mask & the conditions for safe USE of masks in different circumstances/settings," she explained.

Before anything else, Dr. Tam stated that medical masks for health care workers was priority number one, and these products should be conserved for those who are providing direct care to patients with COVID-19.

Due to the huge shortage, nobody outside of the frontline should have a supply of medical masks!

In a follow-up tweet, Dr. Tam acknowledged that many people have been making homemade versions, which she said “could help maintain cough etiquette by covering your cough if you are ill or have early symptoms of COVID-19.”

However, she urged her followers to “beware,” as non-medical masks could still result it the spread of the disease.

“When you wear a face mask: it should be well-fitted (no gaps) & you must practice good hygiene before, during & after wearing it,” Tam explained.

Additionally, she noted that face coverings can easily become contaminated on the outside, especially when touched by unclean hands.

To prevent contaminating your mask, Tam recommends not touching your mask when using it, and washing and disinfecting it if it becomes damp. If this is not possible, it should be discarded.

Dr. Tam also urged Canadians to remember that the virus can enter your body through the mucus membranes of your eyes. This means it’s essential to avoid rubbing or touching your eyes, especially after touching your mask.

Crucially, the doctor explained, face masks will not stop people from getting COVID-19.

“Non-medical masks alone will not prevent spread. You must consistently and strictly adhere to good hygiene and public health measures.”

She added that this includes frequent handwashing and proper physical distancing.

As of 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Canada had a total of 9,613 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

 

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