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The Potential Risk of Using a Mask Bracket During COVID-19

September 03, 2020

No one likes wearing masks, one of the recommendations for containing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but seeking relief with a special mask bracket only serves to diminish the covering’s effectiveness.

“We’ve learned that 30 percent to 45 percent of asymptomatic or presymptomatic transmissions account for a lot of the new cases of COVID-19,” said Dr. Faiqa Cheema, a Hartford HealthCare infectious disease specialist. “Another thing we’ve learned is that wearing a mask and physical distancing has played a very significant role in mitigating and decreasing the surge of this infection.”

Mask brackets, also called mask braces, are touted as allowing easier breathing, lowering the risk of skin irritation and preserving make-up. The silicone pear-shaped piece fits on the face under the mask to keep the cloth from touching the face. The narrow top fits over the nose while the wider end sits on the chin.

Mask brackets have not been studied for impact on mask effectiveness, but infectious disease experts worry that in pushing the mask away from the face, they cause gaps on the side that can allow germs to get to the nose and mouth and spread infection.

Besides possibly enabling COVID-19 infection, the mask bracket can also irritate the skin, especially when worn for extended periods of time and in the heat.

If you choose to wear a mask bracket, you can help protect yourself and your skin by:

  • Checking that the mask stays sealed against your face.
  • Ensuring the mask does not open around the edges of your mouth.
  • Following proper skin care or requesting special medicated products to combat any acne that results from the mask or mask bracket.

Proper mask wearing, Dr. Cheema said, is “just social etiquette — it shows that you respect yourself, you respect everybody else around you and you really understand the basic facts that humans are the main vectors of transmission of the virus.”

Not feeling well? Call your healthcare provider for guidance and try to avoid going directly to an emergency department or urgent care center, as this could increase the chances of the disease spreading.

Click here to schedule a virtual visit with a Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent Care provider.

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