Why You Should Still Wear a Mask

 The number of new COVID-19 cases has certainly dropped as more and more people have been vaccinated.  Most of our patients have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and many have already had COVID-19. I suspect that’s why people are more complacent about being in a medical facility without masks or perhaps people are just sick of wearing them, but I want to encourage you to hang in there and keep wearing that mask.

Just because you’ve had COVID-19 or a vaccine doesn’t mean you can’t get sick again. Previous infection and/or vaccination may or may not protect you against new variants that are circulating and won’t protect you from other viruses like flu or RSV. Only a mask can do all that.

Flu, RSV and other serious seasonal viruses are no longer following their usual seasonal patterns. Keep in mind that flu vaccination, while very helpful, can wear off near the end of the season. That means that you can be susceptible to the flu if it’s been more than a few months since your last vaccine. Without physical distancing, hand washing, and mask-wearing, surges in flu cases are likely and flu can be just as deadly, and often more deadly than COVID-19. 

So, even if you’re willing to personally take the risk of getting infected because you might not get very sick, do you really want to be isolated when you develop symptoms or take the very real risk of spreading the infection to others who may not fare as well as you if infected?

Because symptoms of colds and flu are in many ways identical to COVID-19, you still need to isolate and/or get a COVID test if you get sick regardless of previous infection or vaccination. 

Haven’t you enjoyed having fewer colds and flu-like illnesses during times of required masking? If you have, I encourage you to keep up the good work and continue wearing a mask, washing your hands, and physical distancing especially in medical facilities or crowded public places. It is your right to protect yourself and your family!

Be safe and stay well. You’ve got this!