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Health experts debunk coronavirus mask myths

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A mask is a physical barrier between you and other people. It’s meant to trap large respiratory droplets from getting into the air and infecting those around you.

It’s a simple concept but some people aren’t convinced.

Dr. Raed Dweik, of Cleveland Clinic, said emerging science shows virus spread goes down when people wear masks.

“There’s a growing body of evidence now that cloth masks do help protect the community from the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.

Some people believe you only need to wear a mask if you have symptoms of COVID-19 -- but that’s a myth.

Not everyone who is infected gets sick and people may spread the virus before they have symptoms.

Since we’re not sure who has coronavirus, Dweik said it’s important for everyone to wear a mask.

If you’ve seen social media posts questioning whether wearing a mask can make you sick -- don’t believe them.

Dweik said there aren’t many reasons to avoid a mask, short of having a rare allergy to the material.

However, if a mask is bothering you, or making it harder to breathe, he recommends finding a spot away from others and removing it for a short time.

And if you think social distancing isn’t necessary just because you’re wearing a mask -- guess again.

“Masking by itself is not enough. It’s really part of what we call a ‘package deal’ to try to minimize the spread of the virus,” said Dweik. “Masking is one, the second is social distancing - keeping six feet apart or more if you can, and of course washing and sanitizing the hands.”

Dweik adds that how you wear your mask is important -- and to be most effective, a mask should cover your nose and mouth.