BC doctors encourage people to ‘mask up’

November 3, 2020

As COVID-19 case numbers rise in BC, Doctors of BC is urging British Columbians to wear masks when indoors at public facilities and outdoors where it is difficult to physically distance.

“We all have a responsibility to protect not just ourselves, but those around us who are vulnerable,” said Dr Kathleen Ross, President of Doctors of BC. “With evidence showing that COVID-19 is spread through droplets, wearing masks is an important tool in our toolbox to help us stay safe. It is critically important to practice good hygiene and keep physical distance, but wearing masks adds another layer of defense.”

Doctors of BC launched our social media campaign in October, encouraging British Columbians to #MaskUp when physical distancing isn’t possible and always when visiting the hospital. The campaign is being promoted across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and has reached more than 100,000 people to date. Recent media coverage included a front-page story in the Times-Colonist newspaper.  

Dr Ross added: “In some cases people cannot wear masks for medical reasons, and that is okay. But every little act we do – combined together – can make a real difference to containing this virus over the fall and winter.”

Doctors want to remind people that it’s critically important to also wear a mask when visiting the hospital or your doctor’s office. It is difficult to maintain physical distance in these settings where everyone around you is potentially vulnerable.

Tips to help you ‘mask up’

  • Do not wear medical/surgical masks. Save them for health care professionals and those caring directly for a person with COVID-19.
  • Homemade masks can be made from different materials, but some materials are better than others. Use clean 100% cotton, polyester or a cotton-polyester blend. For example, masks could be made from tea towels, sheets, t-shirts or pillowcases. 
  • Make sure your mask fits well and is comfortable, with ties or ear loops to reduce the need to adjust it.
  • A properly fitted mask sits closely over the mouth, nose, cheeks and chin of the person wearing it. The mask will be less effective if the shape or the material has gaps in it because it will allow droplets to pass through.
  • Masks should only be used by one person and should never be shared.
  • Change and wash your home made masks regularly. To clean a homemade cloth mask, wash it using the directions on the original material .
  • Do not put a face mask or covering including visors and eye protection on infants under two years of age, as it may make it difficult for baby to breathe.

More information on how to wear masks is available on the BCCDC website.