Face Mask Don'ts

The Montana Nurses Association recommends people keep their face masks on the entire time they're in public and not to put the covering around their neck.

The Montana Nurses Association (MNA) strongly encourages all Montana citizens wear face masks to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.

As COVID-19 spreads across the globe and cases continue to increase in Montana, the chances that you will be exposed and get sick continue to increase.

When someone talks, coughs or sneezes they may release droplets into the air that land on surfaces and can infect others. If someone is ill or is an asymptomatic carrier, a face mask can reduce the number of germs the wearer releases and can protect other people from becoming infected.

This virus has its own agenda, and we now see evidence that asymptomatic people can spread the virus. (It may be contagious 48 to 72 hours before starting to experience any symptoms, if at all.) Therefore, MNA kindly asks: “Please wear a mask in all public settings when social distancing cannot be maintained to protect others.”

Masks are especially important when you have to be around someone not in your “bubble” of regular contacts and will be spending time in close proximity, such as a car drive.

MNA applauds all businesses requiring masks to be worn, keeping their patrons and employees as safe as possible. Be smart. The longer we adhere to these recommendations, the longer we are able to support our public health and economy by limiting the spread of the disease in Montana.

Recommendations

• Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer before touching the mask

• Wear your face covering correctly; put the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin

• Try to fit the mask snugly against the sides of your face

• Make sure you can breathe easily

• Keep the covering on your face the entire time you’re in public

• Don’t put the covering around your neck or up on your forehead

• Don’t touch the face covering, and, if you do, wash your hands

Wearing a mask only over your mouth and exposing your nose does NOT protect anyone and is equivalent to NOT wearing a mask at all. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer again, after removing your face covering.

More Health Habits

• Stay at least 6 feet away from others — maintain social distancing

• Avoid contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are ill

• Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available

If we all do this now, we will be able to maintain our progress through planned reopening stages, We can get back to safely opening schools, and working and living as we all hope to.

Contact the Montana Nurses Association (MNA): www.mtnurses.org.

Vicky Byrd, MSN, RN, is Chief Executive Officer of the Montana Nurses Association.

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