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Doctors illustrate benefits of masks

Pulmonologist Steve Stites, MD, and infectious disease specialist Dana Hawkinson, MD, brave a sub-zero freezer to illustrate the importance of physical distancing and the difference wearing a mask or face shield can make in controlling the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Steve Stites: We're back in the freezer. I'm here with good old friend "Doc Hawk."

Dr. Dana Hawkinson: Hi.

Dr. Stites: How are you?

Dr. Hawkinson: It's cold.

Dr. Stites: It is cold. This is our cool tape measure. What does it show us? Six feet. Let's see how far our breath goes. That was a big breath. It's going 6 feet.

Dr. Hawkinson: It's getting here.

Dr. Stites: Now a normal breath. We're just talking probably about 3 feet. There is a tape measure just to be showing you. How far it goes. Now we're going to put a mask on. Let's see what happens. Can we keep each other safer? Let's take our deep breath. Man, I just felt a little breath go out a couple of inches. How about you?

Dr. Hawkinson: Yep. Not too far at all.

Dr. Stites: All right a couple of easy breaths.

Dr. Hawkinson: Even just talking nothing.

Dr. Stites: Nothing's going on. Once again mask keep you safe. But let's see what happens when we put on a cloth mask. Can we take a deep breath and try it again? I don't know about you, but my glasses totally fogged up.

Dr. Hawkinson: I can see a fog, I don't see the breath.

Dr. Stites: I don't see the breath either, pretty awesome. Let's see what happens when we, try it with a face shield. Face shield on, where's my breath go? Oh-oh, I'm seeing a little more coming out. Dana, how about you?

Dr. Hawkinson: I think it's coming out the way.

Dr. Stites: That's the problem with the face shield. It just goes down and still gets into the air. And when you stand here and you breathe, pretty soon I create a little breath cloud all around me, and then other people walk through my breath cloud. That's why masking is so important, because Doc Hawk, he doesn't create the breath cloud, with the Chiefs mask on.

Dr. Hawkinson: Nothing.

Dr. Stites: It's awesome. So you know how to stay safe. Do the thing we've been doing in the operating room for generations. It helps keep you safe there. It helps keep you safe on the street, and in your home and everywhere you go. Wash your hands, keep your distance. Six feet, there it is.

Dr. Hawkinson: Make sure you wear a mask, to keep yourself safe, keep your family safe. Keep all of us. We can do it together.

Take good care

Following several simple practices will help you and your loved ones reduce risk of infection. But if you or someone close to you does feel ill, it’s important to recognize symptoms and seek care responsibly. Review these guidelines on prevention, symptoms and supportive care.

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