Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, economy, Employment, Health, masks, news

Business “Mask and Social Distancing Requirement” Puts Employees at Risk of Customer Violence

In early May, a security guard was shot when he asked a customer at a Michigan Family Dollar store to wear a mask per company policy.

One week later a shooting occurred at a McDonald’s in Oklahoma City because a customer was asked to leave when she wasn’t following social distancing guidelines.  Three employees needed to be taken to the hospital but all recovered.

Then last week, an Aurora, Colorado Waffle House customer allegedly shot a cook when asked to wear a face mask or risk not being served.

Employees who work for small businesses who are struggling to follow the new reopening restrictions are putting their lives at risk when a person with mental illness does not want to follow the new laws.

Government officials may not be aware that “laws” being implemented need assistance when it comes to enforcement and the average restaurant or store does not have a security detail to protect their employees and other customers if someone doesn’t want to follow the new laws.

“Refusing service” can trigger one with mental illness to turn violent.  Rejection, accosting, and negative interactions can be perceived as “attacks”, putting an employee who is not trained in tactical movements or negotiation at risk.

A video has gone viral of a Costco employee asking a customer to put on his mask. The customer was not violent but refused to wear one, so his shopping cart was confiscated. Fortunately the altercation ended there, but do altercations need to happen in the first place?

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If an employee feels a customer is beginning to get angry they should:

  • Not engage the customer
  • Get a manager or someone designated to deal with customer complaints
  • Contact local authorities or call 911 if they feel they are at risk of being harmed

Most government officials will not close a business down if the incident (in which an altercation was diffused by providing service) was documented and reported.

When laws and ways of life change quickly and rules are forced on already stressed employees and customers, chaos can ensue.  State and government officials need to be aware of the consequences that can result without proper guidance in how to execute these rapidly changing rules.

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, Health, masks, news

Mask Fatigue: Do Workers Need “Mask Breaks?”

Image above from Getty Images

A picture of a woman at work with a hole in her mask has gone viral.  When asked why she cut a hole in her mask, her reply was so she could “breathe easier.”

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We medical professionals are used to wearing masks throughout our work day, but have frequently removed them between patients. Now with reopening guidelines instituted for restaurants, salons, and other businesses, “mask wearing” will be mandated for the whole shift.

Is this realistic?  How long can one comfortably wear a mask on their face before they want to rip it off?

Up until now, most Americans have been wearing a mask only to go to the grocery store.  Wearing one for an hour is very different than wearing one all day at work, especially during the summer heat.

If we are working to prevent spread of infectious disease, mask wearing needs to be done appropriately.  If people are cutting holes in the mask, or taking them off frequently, the protection is nil.

Other concerns with daily mask use is difficulty exercising while wearing one, and blocking one’s mouth when a person hard of hearing needs to read lips.

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Our mandates for mask wearing sound good on paper and to allow business reopening, but if workers don’t adhere to them, people could be at risk and terminations and business closures could occur.

I suggest a trial of wearing one’s mask for 8 hours a day before they return to work and if they find it uncomfortable to find a mask that is comfortable. Now’s the time to prepare for the “new normal.”

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With the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control’s) recommendation to cover one’s face to prevent the spread of coronavirus, many Americans are searching for ways to cover their nose and mouth.

They write:

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.  CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

So what can be used for a substitute?

According to this chart, materials such those found in kitchen towels and vacuum bags may be the next best thing.

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Although they pale in comparison to the efficacy and protection offered by N95 masks they can be used in light of the CDC’s recommendations.

Again, surgical masks and N95 respirators are not available and if become available are necessary for the front line healthcare workers.  So if you do make your own mask  remember that social distancing, hand washing and changing out one’s facial covering if it becomes wet or soiled are also crucial to preventing the spread of COVID.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

 

 

Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, Health, masks, news

Easy Options For Face Mask/Coverings

With the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control’s) recommendation to cover one’s face to prevent the spread of coronavirus, many Americans are searching for ways to cover their nose and mouth.

They write:

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.  CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

So what can be used for a substitute?

According to this chart, materials such those found in kitchen towels and vacuum bags may be the next best thing.

Mask-Materials-Effectiveness-1-Micron-EN-1024x744.jpg

Although they pale in comparison to the efficacy and protection offered by N95 masks they can be used in light of the CDC’s recommendations.

So here are some options on how to cover your nose and mouth:

Vacuum Bag Mask

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Instructables.com offers instructions on how to make a mask out of a vacuum bag.

Dishtowels and T-Shirts

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Heddel’s gives you the step by step breakdown of how to cut and create earloops for a T-shirt, and similar instructions can be used for a dishtowel.

 

Bandanna or scarves

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scarf.jpg

 

These can be easily folded and manipulated to cover both mouth and nose.  The more folds the better to allow extra layers over nose and mouth but ensure mouth and chin are covered.

Avoid large gaps between eyes and cheeks as pathogens can sneak down under the covering.

Ace Wraps

Assuring you can breathe and don’t wrap the ace too tightly, an ace wrap/elastic bandage may also provide a barrier over your nose and mouth.

ace wrap.png

Panties

Although not the most politically correct these days, panties do have the elastic and variety of shapes that may conform to the face and allow protection.

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Bras

And of course a bra with an ample cup size may also be used if an adequate seal can be secured around the face and mouth.

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Image by @HopClear

Other do-it-it yourself ideas

For those of you with more artistic qualities, these are other ideas:

 

CNN and Tom’s Guide gives the following options for face protection.

And Julie Eigenmann offers a video demonstrating how to make a simple face mask here.

 

Again, surgical masks and N95 respirators are not available and if become available are necessary for the front line healthcare workers.  So if you do make your own mask  remember that social distancing, hand washing and changing out one’s facial covering if it becomes wet or soiled are also crucial to preventing the spread of COVID.

 

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.