Upstate doctor addresses improper mask and glove use

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – As many are questioning the safety of face coverings, Upstate doctors are stressing the effectiveness of masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19 when worn correctly.

Dr. Marcus Blackstone at Bon Secours said for the majority of people, there is no harm in wearing a mask and that it “is the same process as mandatory seat belts.”

He said the exceptions, according to the Centers for Disease Control, are children under the age of two and those with mental or developmental disabilities.

“If somebody can’t necessarily take the mask off themselves, then you need to think about whether they need to be in a mask,” Dr. Blackstone said.

The purpose of a face covering during the Coronavirus pandemic, he said, is to prevent droplets from escaping from your nose or mouth in case you are Covid-19 positive, but asymptomatic.

“We see people leave them right at the bottom of their nose or under their chin, and you’re really defeating the purpose of the mask.”

He stressed that it is vital that you wear them over your mouth and nose.

“Some people are nose breathers, some people are mouth breathers, and a lot of people don’t even realize which one they are,” he explained.

Before going back to school, Dr. Blackstone believes kids need to be educated about masks and be comfortable using them.

“The big thing with a mask is getting used to it,” he said. “Once you do it for a while, just like for us, it just becomes normal.”

When it comes to gloves, the CDC now says it’s not necessary to wear them in public.

“It also gives them a false sense of security, so they don’t really pay attention to what they touch just because they have the gloves on,” Dr. Blackstone added.

However, the CDC recommends wearing gloves when you are cleaning or caring for someone who is sick.

If you are providing care to someone who is sick at home or in another non-healthcare setting, it says to:

  • Use disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting the area around the person who is sick or other surfaces that may be frequently touched in the home.
  • Use disposable gloves when touching or having contact with blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, mucus, vomit, and urine.
  • After using disposable gloves, throw them out in a lined trash can. Do not disinfect or reuse the gloves.
  • Wash your hands after you have removed the gloves.

The CDC says wearing gloves outside of these instances (for example, when using a shopping cart or using an ATM) will not necessarily protect you from getting COVID-19 and may still lead to the spread of germs. It says the best way to protect yourself from germs when running errands and after going out is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, keep a social distance (at least 6 feet) from others, and practice everyday preventive actions.

Guidelines and recommendations for glove use in healthcare and work settings will differ from recommendations for the general public.

To remove gloves, the CDC recommends following these guidelines.

To submit a health question for our Ask the Expert series, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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