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Face Masks and the Coronavirus

To wear or not to wear, that is the question.

It may be part of Asian culture to wear a mask when outdoors in public places, but all the medical authorities I've read say that the best use of a mask is for people who are symptomatic: coughing, sneezing, etc. Go to any doctor's office today and tell them you are there for the flu and they will hand you a mask to wear.

More details are in the article below:

What travelers should know about face masks amid growing coronavirus concerns. 
Compared to the normal flu hazard, the coronavirus is not as deadly.  See this quote from the linked article, "... the current 2019-20 flu season has already seen 15 million Americans become ill with flu and 8,200 American deaths.”

However, I'm not one to discount the wearing of masks to those who want an extra level of protection, however small that might be. If it feels good — do it!

I often cite old Western movies where the wife is in childbirth and the midwife tells the husband to go boil water. It might not have been that useful, but it got them out of the way and made them feel like they were doing something to help.  People like to feel that they are responding to a threat and not just waiting to be struck down by it.

In this case, the midwife might tell the husband, "Go wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and don't be touching your mouth, nose or eyes." 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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