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Teaching Patients Proper Mask Etiquette

May 24, 2021 | AONN+ Blog
Featuring:
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Editor-in-Chief, JONS; Co-Founder, AONN+; University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer, Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Co-Developer, Work Stride-Managing Cancer at Work, Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions

You see it every day on television, people walking around and talking to reporters on camera with their mask on their face, or almost on it. More and more people are not covering their nose when wearing their masks. They complain that it bothers them, feels too confining, or that they have some other issue with wearing it correctly.

In some cases, they have not been informed about the correct way to wear a mask or the reasoning as to why covering your mouth and nose protects the wearer and others from COVID-19.

We need to follow CDC guidelines and encourage our vulnerable patients to do the same. Patients with cancer are at particular risk of catching COVID-19 because their immune system is already being taxed by cancer and systemic treatments that reduce the power of their immune system to work as intended.

Whether you are seeing a patient face to face in clinic or doing a virtual visit, ensure your patients know how to wear their mask to reach its maximum benefit. For those seeing patients virtually, ask the patient to put their mask on so you can confirm they are wearing it properly. Reiterate to your patients the importance of covering their nose and mouth, and to make sure the mask fits snuggly on the sides to prevent air from easily coming in or out.

We are currently experiencing another surge across the country while simultaneously trying to achieve herd immunity. We cannot let the surge continue to increase by failing to follow CDC guidelines. Wear a mask, socially distance, wash your hands frequently, and do not participate in crowded events.

Hopefully by mid-summer we can gather together more comfortably with less risk, and we can keep our patients healthy and safe.

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