As you may have read from my recent blog, Masks are a Must!, wearing a mask not only protects others from Covid-19 but even yourself. Newer information has emerged that the type of mask that you wear is also important. Here is our Masking Update.
Why It Matters – the Science
Covid-19 viral particles can get trapped in the material of a mask before they reach your airways via either your nose or mouth. (Also why covering your nose is important). The more layers that your mask has, the less likely that an active viral particle will make it to your airway and lead to infection. If some viral particles do make it in, you have less exposure (a lower “viral load”) and less severe illness.
Single-layer cloth masks are less effective at protection, for yourself and others. Surgical masks, two-layered cloth masks, or N95 masks will be most protective.
New Masking Policies
The Pittsburgh Fitness Project has always required masks while indoors during the pandemic. As part of our Mask Update, we are now requiring clients to wear at least a two-layer face covering when inside the gym. Gaiters and single layer masks will not be permitted. We will have a supply of surgical masks available for those clients who don’t have one.
Our other policies and general recommendations for outside the gym remain the same: keep 6 feet apart and sanitize your hands often.
As always, if you feel ill, stay home. Contact your doctor if you develop a new cough or loss of taste or smell. Covid-19 symptoms can be milder in healthy adults. If you experience any combination of cold symptoms, headache, fever, body aches, or gastrointestinal symptoms, get tested and quarantine until your results come back.
PA Health Department Guidelines
As I also mentioned in my last blog, social gatherings have been the biggest driver of new infections. If we feel well, we assume we are not infected and feel better about getting together, unmasked. Unfortunately, we can shed the virus for two days before feeling sick.
The Pennsylvania Health Department now recommends wearing a mask when you are indoors if you are around non-household members, even in your own home with relatives and close friends, regardless of distancing. They also recommend masking whenever you are outside your home unless you are more than six feet apart and outdoors.
The recent good news appears that several promising vaccine candidates are nearing approval. The distribution will take time. Let’s do our best this holiday season to follow guidelines and limit Covid-19 spread.
Dr. Brian Clista
Pittsburgh Fitness Project