Good morning! It’s a beautiful day here in Arizona – the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and cacti are in bloom.

It’s also currently day #394,850,692 of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Okay, we might be exaggerating, but you know the feeling, right?) Cases are on the rise again in Arizona, and there is still no vaccine or proven medication available to combat the virus. We are still learning new things almost daily about COVID-19 and the novel Coronavirus, and the situation overall still remains serious.

However, we have learned that there are a few proven ways to prevent COVID-19 from infecting you and your family. And the good news is that you’ve already likely become an expert at them: social distancing, hand-washing, and of course masks, masks, and more masks!

Of the three, the one we see people struggle with the most is masking. And it’s true, it’s not easy to wear a mask for long periods of time, especially in our dry, triple-digit heat. But recent studies have shown that masks are the most effective and important preventative tool we currently have to prevent COVID-19 infection. One study in New York City found that the daily new infection rate fell by 3% each day once mask-wearing was implemented. Each day! Social distancing and hand-washing were already in play, but neither produced as dramatic a result as face-masks. CNN has a great demonstration video on how masks work to prevent infection and spread – check it out here with your kids!

For us as providers, COVID-19 has been especially scary because we don’t have many options for helping our patients once they get sick. Fortunately, our diagnosed cases have not needed intensive care or hospitalization, and we’re going to do our best to keep it that way. But that is why we believe prevention is the key to keeping our families safe, and why we strongly believe in face masks for everyone above 3 years.

Let’s repeat: We strongly encourage face masks for everyone above 3 years if you’re going to be outside anywhere.

There’s a special population we also want to focus on in this post – and that’s our summer athletes. It can be tricky to wear a mask in a number of different sporting fields, but there is a new mask from Under Armour that is purported to be designed for athletes and intense exercise. According to the company, the mask is water-resistant and more breathable than regular face masks. Keep in mind, this mask has no research backing to support its claims, so if you’re going to try it for your young athlete, we recommend a low-intensity workout for your child to trial how they feel in the mask first.

If you have any questions on face masks, prevention, or COVID-19, give our office a call! And for further reading, we’ve provided a few great articles below:

  1. MSN: Masks significantly reduce infection risk
  2. AZ Central: Want to slow COVID-19 spread?
  3. The Lancet: Meta-analysis and review on physical distancing, face masks and eye protection

We are in this for the long haul, friends, at least for the foreseeable future. The sooner we can break the foothold COVID-19 has in our community, the sooner we can return back to the activities we all love and miss. If we can all commit to doing the things we know can help prevent viral spread, we can get through this together.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay masked!