By Samuetta Hill Drew
Wearing a mask has become a hot controversial and divisive topic in our country. The viewpoint has been taken away from the medical and scientific community and transformed into a political statement for some. Not wearing masks has become a social statement by many, and the same is true for those who choose to wear a mask instead of seeing people who are making decisions based on healthy long-life decisions outside of politics or social beliefs.
Seeing the various protests around the country, especially by parents who argue their rights have been taken away by school district’s masks mandates, reminds me of a speaker I heard several years ago. What I do remember is he was a very interesting speaker who was a physician that practiced general medicine. He wrote a book, I can’t remember the name, about his professional experiences with various patient outcomes. The book’s primary theme was how as a physician he would diagnose his patients and provide medical advice based upon their diagnosis about lifestyle changes, when applicable. Lifestyle changes that would result in a healthier, longer life. His book highlighted that a considerable number of his patients ignored his medical advice resulting in their preventable deaths. So, let’s review in this week’s safety article about who and when you and your family should wear a mask.
Based upon the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the following are some important recommendations:
* If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public spaces. Check your school or school district for their recommendations.
You do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings unless:
* In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated. Note Alabama, along with other southern states, have spiking COVID-19 infection numbers due to the Delta variant and the high number of unvaccinated people.
* People who have a condition or are taking medication that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
* If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possible spreading it to others, wear a mask in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus).
Next week’s article will discuss choosing the right masks for you and your family, especially since school has started. This will provide you additional information how best to Keep an Eye on Safety for them and your other loved ones.