BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Initially, scientists didn't know if masks would help stop the spread, but now physicians say it's an appropriate step to take.
"The reason to wear a mask if to protect your neighbors, to protect your community,” said Dr. Joy Henningsen at University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The mask functions as a shield, for your spit.
"When we talk or speak or laugh, we have tiny little saliva droplets that expel into the air, and sometimes you can see them but most of the times you cannot see them,” she said.
So why wear a mask even if you aren't sick?
"We know that 25 to as much as 50 percent of patients COVID 19 positive, don't show any symptoms. So how scary is that? That you feel like a million bucks, run into Publix and you're spreading disease to all of these people in your community,” said Dr. Henningsen.
The masks aren't a bulletproof solution.
"It's really important to note that mask is not to be used in lieu of social distancing, it's in addition to social distancing,” said Dr. Henningsen.
Wearing masks may also help ease the transition back to reopening places like restaurants.
"The fastest way to safely reopen businesses is to have everyone wear a mask because if you aren't, even if a business is open, your neighbors and fellow citizens may not feel safe going to that business,” said Dr. Henningsen.
When you take off the mask, she advises taking it off by the strings on the side only and then popping it in the washer.