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With some questionable health advice being posted by your friends on Facebook, politicians arguing about the state of the American healthcare system and a new medical study being summarized in just a sentence or two on TV---that seems to contradict the study you heard summarized yesterday---it can be overwhelming to navigate the ever changing landscape of health news.Every Thursday at 5:42 a.m., 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m., Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs provides health information you can trust. With trustworthy sources, she explores the fact and fiction surrounding various medical conditions and treatments, makes you aware of upcoming screenings, gives you prevention strategies and more…all to your health.

To Your Health: COVID-19 and Masks

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Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs
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The author preparing to head out for some curbside food delivery.

In an advance publication of The Lancet, the authors provide recommendations regarding masks that have already changed before the article went to print.

One thing that has remained the same is that unless you have been diagnosed with the virus, or  are caring for someone who has been confirmed as infected with the virus you do not need the type of personal protective equipment, or PPE, used by healthcare professionals. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers.

So, why should we wear a mask if we aren’t sick or caring for someone who is sick? Well, the CDC suggests that when going into public places, it's a good idea to consider yourself and everyone you encounter as infected but asymptomatic. Consistent handwashing and maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains most important to slowing the spread of the coronavirus but the Journal of the American Medical Association points out that cloth masks can provide the visual reminder of the importance of maintaining this distance.

Masks can be made out of t-shirts or bandanas. You should wash your hands before you put your mask on to go out in public. When you put it on, do so by securing the ties or loops without touching your face. Do not touch your face or the front of your mask while wearing it. Remove it by the loops or ties and wash your hands. Launder the mask regularly.

Resources
Feng, S., Shen, C., Xia, N., Song, W., Fan, M., & Cowling, B. J. (2020). Rational use of face masks in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet. Respiratory medicine, S2213-2600(20)30134-X. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30134-X

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2764955

Recorded at home with Eli Hildebrand Clubbs engineering; edited at KRCU Studios by Dan Woods 

Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Middle & Secondary Education. She writes for special publications of The Southeast Missourian and is a certified Community Health Worker.
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