FAQs How to Prevent The Spread
- ▼Can you clear up the confusion over whether mask wearing is important?
- It’s confusing when the CDC, the WHO, the politicians and the press provide contradicting ‘expert’ advice, not to mention your social idols, your friends and family.
Our series of FAQs are carefully researched for people just like you.
- ◄Can I rely on a cloth mask to protect me from infection?
I get it. You want a cloth face mask that is both safe and effective.
Let’s look at it like this: If there were not government regulations for the safety of toys, millions of children would have died from them, and many more would be injured. There are no safety standards or certifications for cloth masks or face coverings as respirators sold to the public. Anyone can sell any kind of face covering, and there will be no recall when someone is injured (infected) as the result of an unsafe mask.
For this reason, government agencies cannot consider cloth face masks as PPE, and have to warn people (generally) that they will not protect.
For instance OSHA, makes this statement: (cloth masks) “Will not protect the wearer against airborne transmissible infectious agents due to loose fit and lack of seal or inadequate filtration.”
There are masks that would qualify as PPE, if the government were to have a testing program for cloth mask used as PPE. Find out what kind of cloth mask will reliably give you the protection you should expect.
Until there are federal standards that these devices must adhere to, this is the best we can do.
For more information, see the next question.
- ◄Can I use cloth face masks as PPE?
My BFF Masks have been authorized by the FDA for use by members of the general public, including health care personnel (HCP) in healthcare settings as personal protective equipment (PPE), to cover their noses and mouths, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, to prevent the spread of the virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, pursuant to section 564 of the Federal, Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) (21 U.S.C. 360bbb-3).
(NOTE: The seasonal Flu virus would be included, for the goal of preventing a “Twindemic”, where people are infected with both viruses at the same time, which could increase the severity of disease.)
- ◄Could wearing glasses lower the risk of COVID-19?
Maybe, but the science has not studied this much. According to a Brief Report published by JAMA Ophthalmology on September 16, 2020:
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this cohort study of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Suizhou, China, the proportion of inpatients with COVID-19 who wore glasses for extended daily periods (more than 8 hours/day) was smaller than that in the general population, suggesting that daily wearers of eyeglasses may be less susceptible to COVID-19.
- ◄Do you recommend wearing goggles or a face shield?
- If you allow people who are not wearing a good quality mask to express themselves directly to your face within 6 feet, yes. The eyes can be a pathway as the tear duct is a pathway inside to the virus breeding areas. The CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks.
- ◄Can a cloth mask be better than a medical mask or an N95 surgical mask?
Yes, it can be better. Indeed, it is often much better for various reasons. Here is a list of well-known problems with both N95 and ‘flat pleated’ style medical masks:Cup style (or ‘beak style’) N95 masks:
Have a hard shell that doesn’t fit a large number of people’s faces without being pulled very tight to the face, causing a maskne rash and/or a general irritation that can last for days. When medical personnel have undergone a ‘fit test’ to verify the user is wearing a mask that fits them with a good seal, they can work very well, but are oftentimes very uncomfortable, increasing their work stress.
Sometimes healthcare workers take their masks off for relief when they would be advised to keep them on.
- Many people find that they are difficult to breathe through, and hold a significant amount of exhaled air which is re-inhaled. This, when a person has relatively low lung capacity and/or is at rest and breathes shallowly has proven to cause hypoxia (starving the blood supply of oxygen which can cause unconsciousness if not sensed consciously and the user decides to start breathing more heavily).
Note: this is rare amongst mask wearers; mostly it’s only a bit of a discomfort and a nuisance that contributes to the stress and fatigue of our already overworked health care workers.
- The volume of air in the mask, when it holds your breath holds a lot of heat. This can be uncomfortable, holding heat in hot weather.
- They are not designed to be washed, disinfected or sterilized. (The major and well-respected manufacturer 3M reported on an exhaustive study and found that all procedures to make these kinds of masks (even the very best of them) ready for re-use failed, and highly recommends they be disposed of and replaced.) They are one-time use. (This would logically be true of all masks listed as disposable.)
- Some of these problems can also be experienced with some cloth, foam and other masks of this style. These problems cause people when they want relief to not wear them when they should, or wear them loosely, which makes them much less protective than they are designed to be.
- These masks were only designed to catch droplets from coughing, spitting (droplets that come out of the mouth while speaking) and sneezing by medical personnel. They were specifically designed for the purpose of protecting the room and patients from catching a disease from the medical staff. They did not need to seal very well, just to be a very basic ‘face covering’. These masks provide protection (droplet protection), but have several limitations:
- They do not seal very well (they were not designed to make a good seal).
- They are not very breathable when pulled tight to the face. The material they are made of does not breathe as well as a properly designed and fitted multi-layer cloth mask.
- Because of the poor seal, they increase the risk of infection significantly over a properly designed and fitted multi-layer mask, especially for the lighter airborne particles.
- Many of them either have no nose sealing strip or a very weak one. This causes them to leak around the nose, and oftentimes to drop down. When the mask drops down, it must be handled to reposition it, which causes a risk of contamination unless the wearer’s fingers are disinfected immediately before touching anything else (which seems to rarely happen.) How
- cloth masks be better than these medical masks?
- ◄Could masks help you avoid major illness even if you get coronavirus?
There is a great deal of evidence in favor of this. Masks can help reduce the severity of the disease caused by coronavirus even if you get infected. According to many studies, real-world examples and commonly understood immunology principles as reported by Dr. Monica Gandhi according to an LA Times article.
As it turns out, (wearing cloth masks that trap a majority, but not all particles) is pretty important. Breathing in a small amount of virus may lead to no disease or a more mild infection. But inhaling a huge volume of virus particles can result in serious disease or death.
- ◄Isn’t it just fine for me to wear any kind of ‘face covering’?
- Although everyone, so it seems, just says “Wear a mask.”, or “wear a face covering”, perhaps 90% of the masks people wear today provide less than optimal protection and with many, in some situations, the protection is near zero. See the next question for a more in-depth answer to this question.
- ◄I have an underlying condition. What do I need to know?
First, you probably already know that exposure for some people can be a death sentence. You’re not alone. Many of us are in the same boat (wisely keeping as separate and protected as we can, I hope.)
Perhaps the biggest problem is the confusing things we have heard from the ‘experts’ and those we have trusted from the beginning of the pandemic.
Here are some of the most important things you should know:
- It’s a good idea to stay home , if you can, if you live in an area where an infectious disease is spreading in your area.
- Fresh air is your best friend -forever. Being out in God’s treasured natural environment is where we can breathe easy without concern. It is when you must be around people or touch things other people have recently touched that an infection can be caught.
- Healthiness is your next best friend. Be sure you are taking the steps to be as healthy as you can be, both spiritually and physically (healthy diet and exercise). This will bolster your immune system, enabling it to fight disease more strongly.
- As you know the infectious agents cannot be seen, and you cannot tell by looking at someone if they are infected and contaminating the air and objects around you. The only thing you can do is take precautions.
- There are not many ways a virus can enter your body. Through the nasal and oral pathways (nose and mouth) and the mucous membranes in your eyes (possibly only by entry through the tear duct) are most likely the only pathways for infection.
- How your pathways of infection can get contaminated and cause a pathogen to enter your body is either by direct touch from a finger for instance, or through an airborne path.
- The direct path protection precautions you would be wise to take are to (obviously) keep from touching them, or even touch close to them with anything that is possibly contaminated.
- Wash! It is recommended that you wash (with a gentle, but thorough rubbing motion, and remember under the fingernails is a place for pathogens to hide) with sudsy soap for 20 seconds (hot or cold water doesn’t matter). Note: although we are mostly talking about your hands, it also goes true that anything you want to put into your orifices should be clean, as well 😉.
- Washing up after others( who may be contaminated) have possibly contaminated your space may help, but do not let it give you a false sense of security. The reality is that it is very difficult to clean up a contaminated area. You would be wise to still do the primary thing: wash your hands and anything that you want to allow into your orifices 😉.
- And now the airborne pathway. This is where it gets complicated, and just know that it is impossible in society to be perfectly protected. When around people, the air can have anything from large droplets to microscopic infectious agents called aerosols chasing you down. They may be flung at you, or just floating around, waiting for you to come around and get some either on you or in you.
Hard to believe, but even at a significant distance from an infected person the air can be holding enough infected particles where you are to become infected, according to research.
For example, you might get into an elevator that just carried an infecting person who was loudly singing along with a song on his phone to the floor above you, and now you get into that same elevator, all alone. Now you are in a small room with the virus aerosols floating around just waiting to be inhaled (not a big deal if you’re wearing a good mask.)Here are the things you can do that will give you your best chances against airborne infectious agents:
- The best you can do is avoid going to places where you risk exposure.
- The next best you can do is limit your inhaled exposure to levels your immune system can handle without coming down with noticeable symptoms (a mild case).
It is well known in medical science that your body has a very good chance of not having severe symptoms when the level of infection is low.
- Wear a mask and avoid spending much time in enclosed space gatherings of people especially where there is poor distancing opportunity and poor ventilation.
Not just any mask is advised. use but one that has good quality. (Be careful, many people claim their masks are very good, but most of those claims are not true, even some that show what looks like good laboratory test results. There are some tests you can perform yourself that will prove the quality of a mask with pretty good accuracy. See our Blog Series on this.
- Avoid being close to people who are wearing a poor-quality mask. (See the FAQ: How can I evaluate the quality of a mask just by looking at it?)
- ◄How can I evaluate the quality of a mask just by looking at it?
- There are several things you can look for:
- Does it have adjustable ear loops?
- Does it have a strong metal nose bridge sealing strip?
- How many layers does it have?
- Hold it up to the light. Can you see light through it? See our other FAQs for how important these things are.
- ◄How much protection does a cloth face mask provide?
- See the next question.
- ◄How effective are cloth masks at protection?
It depends a lot on the mask. Most masks are only somewhat protective. Can you see light through it? Does it make a good seal all around your face? Can you easily breathe through it? Is it comfortable enough that you will wear it whenever you are around others?
- ◄Do face masks protect against seasonal flu?
- Yes, most face coverings will do a decent job at reducing the spread of the seasonal flu. For very important information about the winter flu, see the next question.
- ◄What is the Twindemic coming this flu season that people are talkig about?
Every year, public health officials warn about the approach of flu season. But this year is a little bit different thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, experts are warning about the possibility of a “twindemic,” which is an overlap of flu season and an expected surge in COVID-19 cases this fall and winter.
An expected surge in COVID-19 cases will be the result of people spending more time indoors, visiting extended family members during the holidays. With the Pandemic Fatigue people experience which causes many to neglect protection measures added in, there could be a significant rise in infection rates and death.
With the public catching the normal flu strains, Here’s what you need to know about the possibility of an upcoming twindemic, what it might look like, and what it can mean for public health:
From a September 11, 2020 CNN.com article:
As doctors worry about a coronavirus-and-flu "twin-demic" that could overwhelm the health care system, Americans must contend with another possibility: fighting both viruses at the same time.
"You can certainly get both the flu and Covid-19 at the same time, which could be catastrophic to your immune system," said Dr. Adrian Burrowes, a family medicine physician in Florida.
In fact, getting infected with one can make you more vulnerable to getting sick with the other, epidemiologist Dr. Seema Yasmin said.
"Once you get infected with the flu and some other respiratory viruses, it weakens your body," said Yasmin, director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative.
"Your defenses go down, and it makes you vulnerable to getting a second infection on top of that."
On their own, both Covid-19 and the flu can attack the lungs, potentially causing pneumonia, fluid in the lungs or respiratory failure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Each illness can also cause sepsis, cardiac injury and inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle tissues.
Having both illness simultaneously "would increase the risk of longer-term effects of any of those organ systems," said Dr. Michael Matthay, a professor of medicine and a critical care specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.
But it's too early to know exactly how much worse that double whammy could be, compared to having each virus on its own.
That's because Covid-19 didn't spread across the US until near the end of the last flu season, Matthay said. So there's not a lot of data yet on people who get both illnesses at the same time.
But Matthay suspects the potential for pneumonia would be greater if the body is infected with both the flu and coronavirus.
"The two (viruses) together definitely could be more injurious to the lungs and cause more respiratory failure," he said.
Respiratory failure doesn't necessarily mean your lungs stop working. It means the lungs can't get enough oxygen into the blood.
"Acute respiratory failure can be a life-threatening emergency," the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says. "Respiratory failure may cause damage to your lungs and other organs, so it is important to get treated quickly."
- ◄Will a Twindemic be catastrophic?
- From an Aug 18, 2020 Health.com article:
As of right now, experts aren’t totally sure if we’ll have a severe flu season and subsequent twindemic.
The only predictor, Dr. Adalja says, is from looking at countries in the southern hemisphere like Australia, which are currently going through their winter flu season.
Flu cases there have plummeted during the season, even seeing as much as a 98% drop in cases in April, according to the Australian Government’s Department of Health. A recent report from the country’s FluTracking surveillance system found that flu cases are “historically low,” with just 0.43% of people reporting influenza-like illness.
But, while that sounds like great news, Dr. Adalja doesn’t expect that we’ll see the same results. “We probably won’t get the same level of control of influenza as countries like Australia,” he says, noting that in the US, we don't currently have same social distancing regulations in place. “We have to prepare for a challenging flu season.”
With continued focus on staying home rather than going out to where people are as a primary strategy, handwashing, physical distancing and mask wearing, the spread of flu within our community could be reduced.
It could reduce the risk of transmission of flu to more vulnerable people and therefore limit the impact of flu on our healthcare system, but also could reduce the pressure on our Covid-19 testing program so that it is not swamped by people with flu symptoms who need to have Covid-19 infection ruled out.
- ◄What will the new normal be like, and when will this pandemic be over?
There will be a NEW normal. That means that life will have changed forever in societies around the world… but that’s a good thing.
- It always takes about three years to arrive at any new normal: sometime early in 2023.
- The pandemic will have lost its status as a pandemic, but COVID-19 will still be with us.
- There will be a cocktail of therapeutics and vaccines that will be effective.
- We will have gained a new appreciation for quality family time together, and the appreciation for each individual’s struggles as they learn, out of necessity how to help each other through tough times… good for those who took responsibility, another kind of life lesson for those who didn’t, and their family disintegrated.
- Baby boom? In some areas and cultures… a good thing?
- The new normal will have a much larger percentage of people permanently working from home, including home schooling.
- More home cooking and the budding chefs it inspired… a good thing.
- We experienced a renewed realization that living in this world is inherently dangerous, a reality we cannot rely on others to protect us from… a good thing.
- The new normal may, in fact, be similar to a resurgence of pioneering days when people learned how to ‘fend for themselves’ by ‘thinking outside the box’, or to ‘pivot’ as its now called, exploring how to craft the ‘new normal’… a good thing.
- We realized that working together with others that share an optimistic and hopeful outlook is empowering. That while we collectively yet independently seek wisdom and search out the truths in life which are essential for gaining maturity, we discover how to have a satisfactory life experience… a good thing.
- We learned that we need the whole world to work together, though apart, and politics aside, to discover solutions to some of the toughest problems… a good thing.
- ◄Are you a minister?
- I blush a little when asked this question. I tell them that we all should have the heart to bless others with grace and kindness. I love helping people see the better way. This seems to help them find peace and inspire hope in these tough times.
- ◄I hate wearing masks. What do you say?
I can empathize with you very well… I could write a book...
There are a lot of reasons to come to that conclusion.
The many people have had bad experiences wearing a mask. People complain:
I have pandemic burnout.”, “I have pandemic Fatigue”, “I can’t breathe when I wear a mask.”, “My mask doesn’t stay on my ears.”, “Masks make me look stupid.”, “None of my friends wear masks.”, “Masks hurt my ears.”, “Masks don’t fit my face.”, “It’s too hot to wear a mask”, “People don’t understand me when I talk.”, “It muffles my voice.”, “People can’t see my facial expressions.”, “My friends can’t see me smile.”, “My mask smears my make-up.”, “Masks cause maskne.”, “Masks hurt my skin.”, “Masks are uncomfortable.”, “Masks make my ears look funny.”, “My mask keeps falling off my nose.”, “Masks hurt my nose.”, “Masks make me itch.”, “Masks make red lines on my face.”, “My boss said I have to cut off my beard because it makes the mask seal better.”, “I just can’t wear a mask all day at work, it’s too uncomfortable.”
Most of these complaints are relieved by having a good quality mask. Try one of ours.
- ◄Is the Coronavirus, Covid-19 pandemic a made-up story?
There was a time when people were convinced the world was flat. They had no personal experience telling them otherwise, and already knew the dangers of going too far out of their known territory, believing the dangers were just too much for sane people to survive.
This sentiment caused a battle that lasted for years before the people calmed down and accepted the truth.
- ◄I don’t like being told to wear a mask. No-one can make me wear a mask! I have a God-given right. I am guaranteed freedom.
Yeah, like wearing seat belts and driving on the wrong side of the road.
What right does anybody have in telling you to what to do or not to do? You’ve got your God-given freedom to do whatever you want. It’s a free country.
- ◄I heard that masks can damage or weaken the immune system. Is that true?
No, that was a terrible lie and a hoax. Masks protect and can strengthen the immune system if they are of good quality and are worn properly.
They do not hurt the Immune system, decrease immunity, destroy the immune system, decrease the immune system, damage the immune system, inhibit the immune system, kill the immune system, lower immunity, reduce the immune system, ruin the immune system, reduce the immune system, weaken the immune system or compromise the immune system. Get it?
- ◄Where can I get a mask waiver?
- You can’t. They are fraudulent. Period. Sorry. I feel your pain. But likely, you have not tried our masks. They are so comfortable; you can forget you’re wearing them.