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'Should I Wear a Mask at Home?'

woman in mask
By Elizabeth Hanes, BSN, RNSeptember 30, 2020

It’s advice you hear repeated constantly: Always wear a mask when you go out in public. Wearing a mask is proven to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

But should you also wear a mask when you’re in your own home?

In certain situations, yes, you should.

If you live with other people in the household, you should wear a mask at home if you develop any symptoms of illness, such as a fever, coughing, diarrhea, fatigue, or muscle aches. Putting on a mask, isolating yourself (such as staying mainly in your bedroom), and taking other precautions can help you avoid giving the illness to someone else -- even if your symptoms turn out to be a common cold or the flu and not COVID-19.

You also should wear a mask at home if you must allow someone into your home who doesn’t live with you. This includes family members and friends who live elsewhere.

For instance, say you need to have a plumber fix a clogged drain. The plumber should wear a mask while working in your space, and everyone in your household also should wear a mask. The masks do two things: They stop everybody’s (possibly infectious) respiratory droplets from getting into the air, and they provide some protection against inhaling infected droplets. If everyone wears a mask in this scenario (and stays at least 6 feet apart), the risk of anyone inhaling a virus decreases.

There are many other situations in which it’s a good idea for everyone in the household to wear a mask, such as if a family member has just returned from a business trip or if someone in your home doesn’t consistently wear a mask while in public. Use your best judgment about home mask-wearing to keep yourself and other household members safe.




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