Masking: Inward Protection
We have simply not done a good job of explaining why masks protect the wearer, and instead have focused predominantly on how they protect others.
A well-fitted mask that filters efficiently also blocks viral particles from being inhaled.
We have also received a lot of pushback on aerosols, with people adamant about droplets being primary mode of transmission. This is unfortunately simply not the case.
The primary mode of transmission is in fact aerosols and aerosols linger in the air for hours after. If aerosol was not a mode of transmission, then advocating for improved ventilation or encouraging outdoors vs indoors would not be considered.
I see people taking off a mask when there is no one around temporarily. Please don’t do this – it puts you at risk of being exposed.
Wear a mask to protect yourself.
When the fit and filtration are good, not only do you protect others but importantly, you also PROTECT YOURSELF.
The right mask is a combination of fit and filtration efficacy.
Modifications such as double masking and using a mask brace improves fit of the mask. Double masking or using a variation of N95 masks improves filtration significantly.
Pick a proper mask. Scarves or neck gaiters do nothing. Mingle masks should be made illegal. Face shields are only useful when used in addition to a mask.
The mask should fit snugly around your nose and mouth, with no gaps around the nose bridge, sides or under the chin.
Figure in the top panel taken from Masks4Canada: https://masks4canada.org/how-to-properly-make-buy-and-use-a-mask/
Figure in the bottom panel by Linsey Marr, adapted from: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.09.16.21263642v2