Ask Arlington: Doctor Explains the Benefits of Wearing A Mask
By Office of Communication
Posted on July 06, 2020, July 06, 2020

In the latest Ask Arlington, Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, answers your questions about face coverings and slowing the spread of coronavirus. 

Along with her prestigious position at the AMA, Dr. Bailey also practices in Tarrant County. 

How important is wearing a mask to stopping the spread of coronavirus?

"Wearing a mask is vital to stopping this pandemic," Dr. Bailey said. Until we have a treatment or vaccine, wearing a mask, social distancing and frequent hand washing are our best defenses against the virus. "Those are the only tools we have in our toolbox right now to fight COVID-19," Dr. Bailey said. "Mask unto others as you would have them mask for you."

Tarrant County residents are now required to wear a mask in businesses. Where else should we wear a mask?

"I believe you should always have your mask with you. Optimally, have your mask on whenever you leave the house," Dr. Bailey answered. "You may feel like, 'There's nobody around, why do I need to have a mask on?' You can be close to somebody before you know it. It's best to be prepared." Dr. Bailey also said you'll get more accustomed to wearing a mask the more often you do it. 

What else should we be doing to stop the spread?

"Stay home if you can," Dr. Bailey said. But she also acknowledges it's not an option for everyone. That's what makes social distancing so important. You should also be washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer often and wearing a mask. 

Can a mask cause breathing problems?

"Physicians and nurses have been wearing masks for decades — masks that are much thicker than we're asking the public to wear," Dr. Bailey said. "It's just not possible to get carbon dioxide poisoning from breathing into a mask. You're going to get plenty of oxygen, even if you have respiratory conditions."

Dr. Bailey advises talking to your doctor with specific questions related to wearing a mask and any health conditions you may have.

If you believe you may have coronavirus, Arlington continues to offer free, drive-thru testing. Book an appointment and learn more by clicking here. 

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