Laura Monahan, RN and Draga Djordjevic-Gilroy, RN, Woburn Day Services

We have been dealing with COVID-19 for a while now. We are now learning how to live with this virus just as we have learned to live with the cold and flu viruses. There are many thoughts and feelings about how to best take care of ourselves against COVID-19. One hot topic is the wearing of masks. Messaging on the importance of wearing a mask has been confusing. We don’t have to wear masks on most planes but must wear one in the airport. We don’t have to wear a mask at the mall but we must when at the theater.

There is no harm in wearing a mask

Wearing a mask is recommended anytime we are in a public place. Those of us that have not been vaccinated, or have any underlying health concerns (Diabetes Mellitus, autoimmune conditions, heart conditions, breathing conditions to name a few) should always choose to wear a mask, even when not mandated.

This is why Communitas mandates we wear masks except for when eating or drinking because it is a simple way to protect ourselves and others.

We will find many people, vaccinated and unvaccinated choosing to wear masks at all times for this reason. It can’t hurt and will help ourselves and others. Masks are not perfect barriers to transmission of viruses, but combined with frequent hand washing and social distancing, can improve our chances of not becoming sick or getting others sick.

Which mask is best?

Certainly, the one we’ll wear properly; covering our entire nose and mouth and having few gaps, will be the best mask. However, KN95 prevent the smallest particles from passing, disposable surgical masks are second best at preventing small particles from passing, and finally, cloth masks prevent some particles from passing.

Scientists have worked fast since the pandemic to test the belief that wearing a mask makes getting air difficult.

Wearing masks does not decrease the amount of oxygen we get or increase the amount of carbon dioxide. Many people in Asia have been wearing masks daily since before the pandemic without any complaints. But some of us can’t help but feel as if we are unable to breath well with a mask or feel claustrophobic, the mask is too tight and constricting. So, find opportunities to take a mask break. Get outside in the fresh air as time allows. Try to take your mind of wearing the mask by getting engaged in whatever you are doing.

So, find opportunities to take a mask break. Get outside in the fresh air as time allows.

Nurse’s challenge for this month:

Once the mask is on our faces properly, try not to touch it or our faces until we remove the mask — And always, washing or hand-sanitizing our hands before touching our faces.

Communitas offers Day Program Services in Wakefield, Woburn, and Beverly. Supporting adults with developmental disabilities and Autism, we provides a large number of activities designed to promote life skills. We bring a positive behavioral approach to assist in developing independence. Subsequently, we are are working toward personalized goals that are based on each individual’s needs. Communitas Day Services has multiple service models that provide activities to focus on each individual’s needs. Each service model is dynamic and serves as a series of stepping stones to meet goals and reach potential. These programs are funded through the Department of Developmental Services and MassHealth.

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