Stairs are hard, and, at least for me, they never get easier. Add breathing through a mask and it feels a million times harder.
As an emergency medical technician, I spend a lot of time in a mask. Between working in the ER and in the clinics, I work 10- to 12-hour shifts, unable to take off a mask except on my 30-minute lunch break.
In March, COVID-19 started impacting things here in Utah and it changed life — not only for health care workers, but for everyone. Wearing a face covering became a fashion statement and something that is now mandatory for many people throughout the state.
Although the mask is bothersome for many, we need to remember that this isn’t just for our health, but for the health and safety of others around us.
In June, the Utah Department of Health recorded over 11,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases across Utah, with the majority in Salt Lake County. With the recent mandates, state leaders hope to see a decrease in these cases both in Salt Lake and throughout the state.
Although masks can be uncomfortable, they are a necessary part of cutting down the amount of COVID-19 cases, not only here in Utah, but throughout the world. When we wear a mask, we protect others from our germs, and if everyone does that, it protects us as well.
Although it may be tempting to just want to “get it over with,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so far, there is no evidence to support that being infected with COVID-19 means you won’t be able to get it again in the future.
“We do not know yet if people who recover from COVID-19 can get infected again. Scientists are working to understand this,” states the CDC website.
With face coverings required in Salt Lake and Summit counties, Salt Lake Community College classrooms are no exception, as masks will be required on all campuses. This might sound like it will be uncomfortable, but with time, we can become accustomed to this as well.
“If you come to campus, you must remember to wear your face covering in all indoor areas … This is good practice for fall semester, as all students, faculty, and staff will be required to wear face coverings,” according to an SLCC Today email addressed to students and faculty.
Here are a few suggestions in order to make mask time a lot more bearable, while keeping you and others safe:
Share the errands
Go on errands as a couple or small group and split up the list; this will limit the time you are in the store, so you can be back in the car and mask-free in no time.
Find what is comfortable for you
There are different types and ways to wear a mask, and for different people, certain masks may be extremely uncomfortable. When I was younger, I had surgery on my ear. When I wear a face covering, it rubs on the scar and is uncomfortable. When I can, I use a tie mask, but in the hospital, a paper clip works great to keep the ear loops off my ears, making the mask bearable.
Chew gum and carry mouthwash
Smelling your own breath can be extremely claustrophobic. However, chewing gum or having something different to smell can make it more tolerable.
Make it fun
They say laughter is the best medicine, so why not make wearing a face covering as enjoyable as possible? There are many places to buy fun masks that can add a personal spin and show off your personality. If this isn’t possible, coloring or tie-dye can make simple things like t-shirts into a fun and unique mask.
Check out the CDC website to ensure your mask meets all the necessary standards.