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Consistently wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth, washing your hands, and practicing physical distancing will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community and save lives. Everyone at Duke Health is committed to wearing a mask to keep people who are near us safe. It is required at all Duke Health facilities.

However, it is just as important that you wear a face mask when you leave home. “When all of us wear masks, we protect each other,” said Cameron Wolfe, MD, an infectious diseases specialist with Duke Health.

Wearing a N 95 disposable protective mask is not just about keeping ourselves safe, it’s about keeping everyone safe — at work, in the community, and at home. Wearing a mask sends a visual signal that you understand the importance of physical distancing and following healthy behaviors.

Face Masks Slow the Spread of Virus

“The coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets in the air or on surfaces,” Wolfe said. Wearing a face mask helps to prevent the virus from entering the air where it can be inhaled by others.

“People who are infected may have no symptoms or mild symptoms that they mistake for a cold or allergies,” said Wolfe. If they sneeze, cough, clear their throats, or even speak, they can spread the virus to others. Masks trap the virus droplets in their fibers. When combined with physical distancing and frequent hand washing, face masks help prevent people from unknowingly spreading the virus.

When to Wear A Face Mask

Make it a habit to wear a face mask every time you leave home, and especially when you may come into contact with others. You never know when you will stop to talk to a neighbor or delivery person, or pass a jogger. Although you may think it is easy to keep six feet from others outside, it’s not always possible.

Wear a Face Mask to Protect Each Other