People around the world are being asked to wear masks to protect themselves and others from Covid-19. However, many people don’t understand why. Understanding how diseases are passed from person to person is crucial to understanding why masks are important.

What Good is a Mask?

A mask, as long as it covers your mouth and nose, can help prevent Covid-19. Choosing a 3 ply mask can help reduce the amount of spit and mucus particles you are exposed to as well as the number of particles you expose others to. It is possible to expel over 3,000 spit and mucus particles out of both your nose and mouth simply by breathing or talking. A mask blocks the particles coming out of your mouth so they are not sprayed on anyone else. This is important because some people asymptomatic or presymptomatic and don’t know it.

What is Asymptomatic or Presymptomatic?

Asymptomatic means that you test positive for a disease, but you show no symptoms or signs that you have the disease. This means that all of your spit and mucus have tiny disease particles in it, but you feel fine. You think it’s ok to take off your mask around others, but now you are spewing all of your diseased particles at them, exposing family, friends, and strangers to Covid-19. Presymptomatic means that you have a disease, but you haven’t developed the symptoms yet. It can take up to 2 weeks for people to feel sick from Covid-19. During those 2 weeks, you can pass it to other people. This is the same way the cold and flu are spread. People don’t realize they are sick, they go out in public and are not careful, and someone else is exposed to the germs and bacteria.

Masks, while sometimes a pain, help keep you, your loved ones, and strangers from getting Covid-19. Wearing a mask is about caring for the health of others more than it is about caring for your own health.