22:48 PM

A Message from Dr. Bishow Paudel | The Importance of Wearing Masks

475x285 Paudel

Miles City, MT - During this time of the COVID -19 pandemic, the data and information is changing as we know about it over time. This is the nature of science where the information and data drive the recommendations and policies are made. During this time, we all should be flexible and humble to make those changes based on available data and information. It is now known that 20 -45 % of the people may be asymptomatic and still transmit the virus. Even people with COVID 19 may not feel symptoms 5-6 days on average and even up to 14 days during which time they can still transmit the virus. Feeling healthy doesn’t mean that you don’t have this virus -- that asymptomatic carrier can be me or you. If we don’t want to give it to others around us, then we need to follow measures to decrease the transmission. If our goal is to minimize the transmission of this disease at any given time, we should maintain social distance, wash hands, and wear a face mask. Nothing will give 100% protection and at present, we know well, these things significantly decrease the COVID-19 infection risk. Wearing a mask or not may be up to you and making that decision will be easier if you understand what the face mask can do and can’t.

Let’s see how COVID-19 is transmitted

  1. Fomite transmission- when you touch any surface with the virus and touch your face, frequent handwashing plays a primary role in protecting it. Wearing a mask plays a role as you'll touch the face area less frequently.
  2. Directly by droplet or aerosolized particle through our airway during coughing/sneezing, talking or breathing - maintaining social distancing will help, the mask will decrease the distance traveled and even more helpful in closed spaces or where we can’t maintain social distance like the grocery store, any stores, taxi, restaurants etc.

How masks work

Masks do nothing to the virus, however COVID-19 virus particles travel in a droplet or aerosolized particle from our breath, and the mask traps some of it in the mask and if not decreases the distance they can travel. Try to blow the candle with a mask on at a different distance and without it, ll realize the distance force air can travel with and without a mask. Any tightly woven cotton cloth/mask covering the mouth and nose will do the same and help to decrease the virus transmission.

Does wearing a mask make a difference?

The use of the mask is evolving and has been more common practice in Asian countries and few European countries, and not so in the USA. It's normal to have many questions and concerns at an individual or the population level as we all start wearing a mask. The authorities didn’t recommend or even say not to use masks by the general public when we were in the early time with the pandemic. We wanted to preserve any mask for more essential and healthcare workers as the supply chain was disrupted. We also didn’t know if wearing a mask would help. Now we know the masks help to decrease transmission especially when everyone does this and still continues frequent hand washing and social distancing. We now have enough supply and many people started making masks at home. As you start using masks every day, the cloth mask can be cleaned and reused.

I am putting my mask on to protect you. Can you do the same to protect me? We protect each other. Let’s stay together on this!

Dr. Bishow Paudel
President, Holy Rosary Medical Staff
Chief Hospitalist, Sound Physicians

About SCL Health

SCL Health is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to improving the health of the people and communities we serve. Founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1864, our health network provides comprehensive, coordinated care through eight hospitals, more than 180 physician clinics, home health, hospice, mental health, and safety-net services in Colorado and the Montana Wyoming region.