You won’t mind if your surgeon doesn’t wear a mask during your surgery, right? Your surgeon has personal rights and doesn’t want them infringed. Your surgeon doesn’t feel sick so it should be OK.
Whoa! What? Surgeons must wear masks!
Let’s think about that. A surgeon wears a mask primarily to protect the patient, to prevent microbes from the surgeon’s nose or mouth from going onto, and into, the patient. To be blunt, to prevent the surgeon from accidentally sneezing, talking or coughing respiratory droplets into the patient. The patient is vulnerable because he or she is open (literally) to taking in dangerous microbes during a surgery.
That’s how COVID-19 is, too. COVID-19 gains access to our bodies most readily through our mouths and noses. We, like surgical patients, are vulnerable to having harmful microbes enter our bodies, not through an open surgical incision, but though our respiratory tract when we’re around people who have COVID-19 at the grocery store, family picnic, church, party, etc. The people around us are like the surgeon who has access to our insides, and if they unknowingly have coronavirus, then they can pass it into us. It goes into our lungs where it can become a mild, a serious, or a deadly infection.
I doubt anyone willingly tries to infect others. But that’s the insidiousness of Covid-19, you can have it and be contagious to others for over a week before you have any clue that you have it. You can meet up with a lot of people during that time! A mask helps prevent you from spreading respiratory mini-drops with virus into the air, thus protecting others if you have COVID-19 and don’t know it yet. A mask also helps protect yourself. Please wear a mask. Be like your surgeon.
Stephanie Brancati, RN
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