Oregon is now among a growing number of states that require face masks to be worn when inside public spaces. Providers at Eugene Pediatric Associates believe that requiring Oregonians to wear face masks is an important step in protecting kids and adults.

“The evidence is clear. All masks, any mask, provides significant protection against the spread of COVID-19,” says Dr. Pilar Bradshaw.

Among a growing body of scientific evidence supporting that belief is a newly published study in the medical journal Lancet, which combined data from 172 studies across 16 countries on six continents. It determined that masks, even cloth masks, significantly decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission when worn over the nose and mouth.

“It does no good to wear your mask dangling under your nose because that allows air in and out through your nose. So, please cover both your nose and mouth,” Dr. Bradshaw says.

How to properly wear a mask
To wear a face mask safely and effectively, it should fit closely to your face, with minimal gaps.

In addition:

  • Do not touch the outside of the mask once it’s on your face.
  • Wear a mask whenever you are in public, especially when you might be closer than 6-feet in proximity to people who do not live in your household.
  • Remove your mask by the straps. Do not touch the front of the mask, where droplets from others may remain.
  • After taking off your mask, wash your hands immediately to protect against any contamination on the outer layer of the material.
  • Wash your fabric mask daily, either in a washing machine or in a bleach and water solution, then dry it completely before putting it on again.

Children should not wear a mask if they are under age 2, when they are a sleeping, or if they are alone and not being supervised by an adult. If you have a child with a serious medical condition that effects their lungs or heart, talk with your pediatrician about whether using a mask is safe.

Dr. Bradshaw says, “It’s not just the mask that helps protect you. Wearing a mask should be in addition to all of the other things that we can do to decrease the spread in our community and decrease the risk to ourselves.”

It’s strongly recommended that kids and adults adhere to social distancing and hand hygiene recommendations, including:

  • Keeping a social distance of 6-feet or more in public places.
  • Washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds or more, and refraining from touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Leaving children at home, supervised, when you need to go to the store.
  • Limiting social gatherings to small groups of people who are also mindful about social distancing.
  • Staying home when you’re sick.

This is not a time to take risks with your health or the health of others, says Dr. Bradshaw. “The downside of taking risk at this time is that you might find out too late that the cost of that decision was very, very steep.”