INDIANAPOLIS — Another curveball thrown in the fight against the pandemic is making sure that you have the right mask to protect yourself.
“There is some emerging recommendations coming from the CDC to encourage the use of a little higher technology, better make with the omicron variant being so contagious,” Dr. Christopher Doehring, Vice President of Medical Affairs for Franciscan Health Central Indiana, said.
On Tuesday, White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said people using cloth masks should consider upgrading to surgical-grade masks as the highly transmissible omicron variant spreads.
“Certainly an N95 or higher or higher rated mask is better for yourself, but then again that's subject to how well it's tolerated and whether or not it's actually fit properly,” Dr. Doehring said.
WRTV also checked in with Melissa McMasters, RN, the administrator of the Infectious Disease and Immunization Program at the Marion County Public Health Department.
“So this is going to block splashes or sprays that can contain viruses and it’s also going to prevent you as the wearer from coughing or sneezing on someone else,” McMasters said.
Dr. Doehring and RN McMasters agree that the N95 masks can be difficult to wear for long periods of time.
“There are some challenges with this updated recommendation,” Dr. Doehring said.
To address the issue of limited supply, the Biden administration says it’s planning to help ramp up production of N95s to make them more available to Americans who want one.
“Whatever mask that you choose to wear, wear it appropriately and keep in mind the primary goal of masking is to prevent you from inadvertently spreading the virus. The second goal is to prevent you from getting the virus,” Dr. Doehring said.