Currently, your risk for influenza in Missoula and surrounding towns in Western Montana is far greater than for COVID-19. Your naturopathic physician is ready to help you assess your immune status, and in particular your respiratory system, and create a prevention/optimization plan with you. That is where your best protection lies, that is in your internal resources and your general health. 

Masks protect the person wearing them from breathing in airborne particles. COVID-19 does not spread through the air. The COVID-19 organism spread through droplets. 

What’s the difference? Airborne spread happens when microbes float through the air when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. Those microbes can be inhaled even after the infected person is no longer nearby. Direct contact with the infectious person is NOT needed for someone else to get sick with viruses that are airborne. Microbes like chicken pox and TB are spread through the air. 

Droplet spread occurs a sick person’s cough, sneeze or exhalation causes fluids in large droplets to splash the eyes, nose, or mouth of another person. A virus contained in droplets can also enter through a cut in the skin. Droplets may cause short-term environmental contamination, on a countertop or handrails for example. A person can be infected by touching a surface with invisible droplets on it, and then touch their face or their skin near a wound. Depositing fluid droplets with live virus near eyes, nose, mouth or wound allows the virus to move into those vulnerable mucosal tissue, and cause infection.

Social science research indicates people use masks as community signaling, that is when we see someone wearing a mask, we feel safer, even when it is actually illogical. Health care workers wear protective masks because they are at higher risks of being close enough to infected people to be literally splashed with their respiratory droplets while giving care. For those not providing direct care to people of unknown status, a mask will not make a difference.  

What makes a difference is practiced, habitual hand washing, and a practiced, automatic habit of not touching your face or near wounds without hand washing first. It is also important to moisturize your hands frequently, so all the washing doesn’t cause dry skin with little cracks, that make you more vulnerable.  

Worrying is a stress that can use up precious chemistry you need to maintain your well-being. Make an appointment with your ND at Natura Health and Wellness in the next few weeks; get your questions answered and your personal circumstance assessed, so you can take effective action for yourself and your family, and relax. 

Read more about masks from the CDC, here: