This topic is a very debatable discussion. It may not seem so as its pretty simple isnt it. Or is it? Should you wear a mask while alone in your car during the pandemic outbreak of covid-19.
The general consensus is that it makes no sense to wear a mask while driving a car if Im the only one in the car. This makes sense as there is no one to possibly infect you unless you will infect yourself.
We are living a new era of a pandemic that has spread across the world faster than anyone expected it to. Whether you believe its real or not, if its a deadly virus or not the reality is rules were put in place to protect citizens of countries and to protect countries from each other.
The wearing a mask in the care rule was implemented in various countries including the Bahamas as a measure to reduce the spread of covid-19. Whether you think its silly or not, its not actually law, but its a measure that was deemed to reduce the spread of the virus.
Lets think about this for a moment from another perspective. Okay yes we can agree it seems pretty silly to be driving your car wearing a mask and to make matters worse some people have suffered panic attacks and even passed out because they were unable to breath wearing certain mask.
Im not going to get into the whole type of mask and its ability to stop a virus from penetrating the fibers but instead I want you to consider the following scenario.
I am a proponent for the concept of wearing a mask for your protection. Consider this. You leave you home not wearing a mask but to make a few stops or pickups from stores or from family. The potential issue comes from not knowing who is infected with the virus. We are told that there are some with no symptoms but can be carriers. So lets keep that in mind.
So you stop by a friend house to pick up a few dollars to go to the food store. The first thing you do before you leave your car to be safe is to put on your mask. Good on you. You get the cash and head back to your vehicle. Once in your car you use your hand sanitizer and take your mask off because you find it silly to drive with your mask on.
From there you go to the food store and once you park you do the same thing. Put on your mask, go into the store get your items, pay for them head back to your car, use the hand sanitizer and remove your mask.
On your final leg home… when you arrive you take your grocery bags out (reusable) along with our mask and proceede to wipe down your items, hobefully, before putting them away. So whats the big deal?
Think about it…
Okay lets replay your steps in reality.
Leaving home is the easy part. We know you didn’t put on your mask until you were leaving the car to get the money from your friend. Now lets just hypothetically say that your friend either has covid-19 or they did not disinfect the money that was passed around from a potential carrier and it now has the virus on the surface. So you take that money but no worries you are smart and will sanitize your hands in the car. Great but where did you put that money between when you received it and when you used it in the store? Hopefully you sanitized your hands before removing your mask other wise that’s contaminated as well.
The issue of your car door handle.
Most persons will put money in their pocket, their wallets or bags. Some may have just rested it somewhere in the car until they reached the store… Okay you get where I’m going with this right. You just potentially contaminated your pocket, wallet, bag, or a portion of your vehicle. To add to it, the virus was on your hand when you opened the car door so then chances are your car door handle is contaminated. Then you closed it with that same contaminated hand, now its inside with you, Oh.. how did you open the door or start your car? Well chances are you touched your keys so they are also potentially contaminated.
So even though you sanitized your hands, your car door, keys, pocket-wallet-or part of your car has been contaminated. The chances of the virus just sitting waiting for you to do something has just increase.
Stop touching your face.
Okay so yeah surfaces are contaminated but you are smart your hands are clean. Great!! or are they?
We subconsciously touch things and our bodies more than we realize. Studies have found that on average we touch our face over 25-30 times per hour, other surfaces 10 -20 times per hour. So the longer you remain in your car the larger the chances are that you will touch a contaminated surface.
Lets continue because there is more.
When you arrive at the store you again place on your mask and touch your contaminated keys to turn your vehicle off. You then proceed into the store. Any place where there is a flow of people moving about is an ever greater threat to contaminating more of your body.
Hopefully everyone is wearing a mask and we will assume so however not everyone has your hygienic practice of sanitizing your hands. This now leads to an issue of every item you touch has the potential of having the virus on it. Your trolley or basked, the items you pick up and even that money you got from your friend.
We sometimes unknowingly bump into things especially through narrow aisles and at the cashier. Persons with thin mask talk, cough and may even sneeze releasing droplets that may contain the virus. This now means according to the CDC, since the virus can be suspended in the air in smaller droplets you can walk right in to one of these blooms. We pay with our money and may receive change another potential hazard. Then we return to our vehicle same issue, our bags, items in our bags, money, receipt, keys, door handle in and out, clothing and even our shoes are all potential surfaces that may have the virus.
One thing I have noticed with many person entering their vehicles is how easily and unconsciously they touch their steering wheel and other surfaces of their car like the chair or arm rest to get in the car. All these are potential contaminated surfaces.
You go home and if we can pause we can count the items that may potentially be contaminated.
- Grocery Items
- Grocery Bags
- Car door handles in and out
- Car seat
- Car steering wheel
- Car pedals – from walking in who knows what
- Other surfaces including your mask
So What does all this have to do with wearing mask in the car?
It should have been obvious by now. The amount of times we unconsciously touch surfaces and our face within an hours time is so high that without that mask you have raised your chances of touching your lip or rubbing your eye or even just a flick of your nose that is tingling. That’s all it takes for the virus to enter your body.
By wearing your mask, as uncomfortable as it seems, keeps you concsious that something is on your face. You are far less likely to touch your face in this manner.
Wearing your mask not only protects you around other people but it protects you from yourself and your unconscious habits of touching surfaces and your face.
So should you wear a mask while in your vehicle. Well it depends. If you are not going to leave your vehicle, nor talk to any one with your window down or even have your window down while driving then there is a chance that there is no need to wear your mask. On the other hand based on the rules in place, if you do not have a valid reason to be on the road you can find yourself before the courts and its best that you just stay at home.
If you do have to go out among other people or touch any item it may be a safeguard to protect yourself and your family to wear your mask at all times possible. They are uncomfortable and often restrictive but which would you rather… a temporary mask that you can remove at any time or a Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)? It really is your choice.
What are your thoughts on wearing your mask in your car when you are alone. We would like to hear from you. On that same note should wearing gloves also be made mandatory?