Should I switch from cloth masks to surgical masks to protect against COVID-19?


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HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – Some health officials are recommending residents switch to surgical masks in response to the new Delta Variant.  

However, the CDC and health officials in the Mountain State say either cloth or surgical masks are perfectly fine.  

“The best mask for the general public is the mask that’s on your face, and that’s going to work better than no mask. But when it comes down to what’s the better mask, that’s more of a necessary point for health care providers or high-risk folks,” says Dr. Kilkenny, the CEO and Health Officer for the Cabell Huntington Health Department.

courtesy: CDC

Kilkenny says everyone should just make sure the mask they’re wearing fits completely over their nose and mouth to ensure it’s blocking the air coming from their mouth.  

What is high risk?  

“When I talk about “high risk,” I’m talking about people that have very specific immune deficiencies. They should probably talk to their health care provider about whether they should use a higher potency mask in specific situations,” Kilkenny explained.

He says if you would like extra protection, wear two masks.  

The CDC and the Cabell Huntington Health Department both advise washing your cloth/reusable masks to avoid spreading germs.  

courtesy: CDC

Kilkenny says, “if you’re going to wear a cloth mask today, wash it or wear a different one tomorrow.”  

Should I remove my mask to sneeze/cough? 

“That would be the things you want to stop from spreading. Now, should you change your mask after you sneeze? Maybe so,” says Kilkenny.

He also reminds the public not to “overthink” the masks. “Wear the masks. It reduces the spread, even with the Delta.”   

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