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Authorities Urge Families to Wear a Mask at Home: Here's What Experts Say

Authorities Urge Families to Wear a Mask at Home: Here's What Experts Say

With the recent and on-going increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, health and government officials urge the public to wear a face mask at home. While the advice seems to raise many eyebrows, medical experts say it’s truly helpful. Do we need to wear a mask at home?

The Philippines now has evident household transmission

Do we need to wear a mask at home? Authorities from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) reported in a recent briefing that the country now has evident household transmission of COVID-19. They issued this statement after seeing a steady rise in coronavirus infections within household members.

do we need to wear a mask at home

Exactly how these coronavirus clusters in families occur is still unclear; but officials believe it’s due to “COVID fatigue,” a type of emotional exhaustion from nearly a year of lockdown. The arrival of vaccines in the country might have also pushed people to become more relaxed.

Health advocates encourage people to wear a face mask at home

Do we need to wear a mask at home? Because of the increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections within families, health advocates and government officials now encourage the use of face masks at home.

While it seems like “overkill” for many people, wearing a face mask at home, according to health experts, is actually helpful. This is because people can never be sure about their household members’ exposure to the virus.

Case in point: An employed person within the family may have followed the minimum health standards, but the person they briefly sat with during lunch may have not.

Do we need to wear a mask at home? When should people wear a mask at home?

Wearing a face mask at home at all times may not be doable, but there are certain scenarios when the practice will be helpful. Consider putting a mask on when:

Interacting in a shared space

Do we need to wear a mask at home? It may be okay for people to go mask-less in their respective rooms, but in shared spaces, it’s a different story.

The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends wearing face masks in shared spaces if someone in the family came in close contact with people who don’t live in the household and one or more members have compromised immunity (seniors, those with underlying health issues like heart disease, etc.).

People come to visit you at home

Another instance when we need to wear a mask at home is when other people come to visit us. It’ll also help to politely ask visitors to wear a mask, too.

You’re returning home from a trip

Do we need to wear a face mask at home? Experts say, yes, especially after you returned from a work-related or leisure trip. This is because you need to take into account your exposure to the people at the event and commute.

You feel sick

Are you feeling a little under the weather? Do you have respiratory symptoms? Whatever it is, it wouldn’t hurt to be cautious until you’re in the clear.

Having respiratory symptoms warrant self-isolation, but if it’s not possible, wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing is necessary to reduce the risk of spread.

And of course, if you’re caring for someone sick, you also need to wear a face mask at home.

The current WHO guidelines

As of this writing, the World Health Organization has two guidelines in wearing a mask in household indoor settings:

  • Wear a mask when someone outside the household visits and ventilation in the house is poor; put a mask on, too if the ventilation cannot be determined regardless of whether people can practice physical distancing.
  • Wear a mask when the house has adequate ventilation, but physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Wearing a face mask at home is effective, a study finds

Do we need to wear a mask at home? One study in Beijing, China revealed that wearing a mask at home seemed to be effective in curbing the COVID-19 spread within families by up to 79%.

However, there’s a catch: the first infected person must wear a mask at home before their symptoms appear.

According to the researchers, their investigation confirmed that the risk of household transmission is highest prior to the onset of symptoms.

Key Takeaways

  • The Philippines now has an evident household transmission.
    There are also reports of more contagious variants.
  • Do we need to wear a mask at home? Officials call for mask use at home, especially if someone in the family has compromised immunity.
  • WHO includes the ability to practice physical distancing and ventilation at home as criteria in wearing masks in household indoor settings.
  • A study finds that using masks at home may be effective, but only before the symptoms occur.

Learn more about Health News here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Jun 10
Medically reviewed by Erika Joanna Villanueva Caperonce, M.D.