Why You SHOULD Wear Your Rave Mask to the Grocery Store
Posted on April 12 2020
Did you know that COVID-19 is the most contagious while people are “presymptomatic”(before showing any symptoms)? Because of this wild factor, it has become a guessing game in regards to who has contracted COVID-19 since tests are still limited and administered to people who present the expected, typical symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, and newly discovered loss of smell and taste!). Studies have shown that the virus can still be spread from individuals who show no symptoms (asymptomatic), which make containing COVID-19 and detecting infected individuals both difficult and lethal.
People can contract COVID-19 from respiratory droplets that infected individuals expelled into the air from coughing or sneezing. Because of this, a distance of 6 feet is enforced and recommended by national officials, healthcare professionals, the CDC, and the WHO (World Health Organization). 6 feet is what is considered a “safe” distance and a low risk of transmission.
However, grocery shopping where some stores’ aisle width are less than 6 feet eliminate the “safe distance”. Of course everyone must at least TRY to stay 6 feet apart, however if you’re turning a corner into an aisle and another human happens to be there coughing or sneezing, it is possible those droplets (COVID-19 positive or not) have entered your system… So, there must be another way to protect yourself- and there is! MASKS!!
With the exception of the N95 respirator, surgical/medical grade masks are intended to protect the person wearing it from contamination due to splashes of bodily fluids, physical particles, etc. The surgical mask itself was not designed to completely block out microscopic respiratory droplets, HOWEVER, it was designed to protect the user from other individuals’, acting as a barrier. Imagine masks acting as a safety net, a shield, a physical layer of protection for the openings of your respiratory tract (mouth and nose). This makes turning that corner into another human being at the grocery store safer not just for the both of you, but for everyone since it will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This war with COVID-19 is better fought with some protection rather than none, in fact the CDC has recommended “additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others”.
Does that mean panic buying and purchasing surgical masks in bulk? Absolutely not- save that for the frontliners of healthcare (RNs, MDs, RTs, techs, CNAs, other direct patient care workers etc.), since they are directly treating people who are laboratory confirmed COVID-19 patients. Not everyone at the grocery store will have COVID-19; this extra precaution is an additional measure to protect to yourself, and ultimately is a measure to help contain the spread. Although not everyone will have COVID-19, some encounters may be with a presymptomatic person (which is when an infected individual is the most contagious, right before they show symptoms).
“So what can I use?” you might ask. The CDC has stated “cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.” So HOORAY for rave fashion because this means your riddim rave masks, your good ol’ reliable anti-dust rave bandanas, festival snowboard style masks, hell even your Malaa ski masks are perfect!!! Your shiny Rolita couture masks, cyber/steampunk gas masks, even a pashmina or scarf will offer you that extra layer of protection and will help decrease the transmission of COVID-19!
The majority of people are self-isolating (HOPEFULLY!! IF NOT PLEASE START), but a run to the store makes it impossible to completely block out all human contact. Since only essential businesses are open (such as grocery stores), a small crowd is likely to be there, and thus a 6 feet distance from anyone may be difficult- BUT the extra precaution and use of masks of any form and material will help prevent further spread. Whether it be the grocery store, bank, post office, hospital, urgent care, the vet (any healthcare facility especially) please wear whatever mask you have/can create!
The usage of masks, self-isolation, frequent hand-hygiene, and maintaining a 6 feet distance from one another, synergistically will halt COVID-19’s escalating peak, and inevitably become a permanent valley (fingers crossed), if society as a whole does their part, TOGETHER. Together we can contain the spread of COVID-19, the new cases, the mortalities, and ultimately, the sorrow and losses.
So please, the next time you’re at the grocery store, put on your rave mask and be a COVID-19 pandemic fighting ninja.
Renee is a licensed Registered Nurse of 4 years and currently is caring for patients during this COVID-19 pandemic.
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Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings. (2020, April 3). Retrieved April 9, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html
Woodward, A. (2020, April 3). It's Estimated 1 in 4 Coronavirus Carriers Could Be Asymptomatic. Here's What We Know. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from https://www.sciencealert.com/here-s-what-we-know-so-far-about-those-who-can-pass-corona-without-symptoms