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Leora Horwitz
Non medical friends, let’s have a chat about masks. So, you’ve bought yourself a box of N95 masks and you think you’re good for . Let me tell you what my hospital makes me do EVERY YEAR to make sure my N95 mask fits (yes, they come in sizes). Watch out: long thread ahead!
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Leora Horwitz Mar 3
Replying to @leorahorwitzmd
First, I have to put the right size mask on and have a big plastic hood put over my head. Aspartame is sprayed into the hood. If I can taste it, I fail the test. Then... /2
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Leora Horwitz Mar 3
Replying to @leorahorwitzmd
I have to turn my head side to side in the hood while aspartame is sprayed in. If I taste it, I fail. Then... /3
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Leora Horwitz Mar 3
Replying to @leorahorwitzmd
I have to nod my head up and down in the hood while aspartame is sprayed in. If I taste it, I fail. Then... /4
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Leora Horwitz Mar 3
Replying to @leorahorwitzmd
I have to crouch to the ground and stand up several times while aspartame is sprayed in. If I taste it, I fail. Then... /5
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Leora Horwitz Mar 3
Replying to @leorahorwitzmd
I have to read a ridiculous paragraph out loud about the science of rainbows and the pot of gold at the end or some such. It is hard to do this without laughing. But if I taste the aspartame... you get the idea. Then... /6
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Leora Horwitz Mar 3
Replying to @leorahorwitzmd
I have to take the mask off while demonstrating proper procedure not to accidentally contaminate myself. If I don’t do this correctly, I fail the test. This, my friends, is much harder than it sounds. (But wait, it’s not over yet!) Then... /7
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Leora Horwitz Mar 3
Replying to @leorahorwitzmd
I get the aspartame sprayed in the hood again, without the mask. This time if I DON’T taste it, I fail (to make sure I don’t have some weird genetic immunity to tasting artificial sweetener). After all this, the hospital staff agrees that yes, I am still a size small... /8
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Leora Horwitz Mar 3
Replying to @leorahorwitzmd
I guarantee you that a) your mask doesn’t fit properly b) you have no idea how to put it on and take it off safely and c) you are probably putting yourself at more risk by messing with it. Which, whatever, it’s a free country. But here’s the thing. /9
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Leora Horwitz Mar 3
Replying to @leorahorwitzmd
I also guarantee you that your purchase of this mask, which is useless to you, restricts supply for frontline healthcare workers. Every hospital is facing shortages. I suspect most are rationing already. The FDA been forced to allow emergency use of construction N95s. /10
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Leora Horwitz Mar 3
Replying to @leorahorwitzmd
If you want there to be enough equipment at least in the short term for people who you may need to stay healthy to take care of you, *stop buying the masks.* So, what are masks good for? /11
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Leora Horwitz Mar 3
Replying to @leorahorwitzmd
Regular surgical masks are great for people who are sick. Stops them spreading disease by coughing far. (You should stop buying those too btw; they don’t keep viruses out so they don’t keep you safe, and I promise you don’t know how to take them off safely either.) /12
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Leora Horwitz Mar 3
Replying to @leorahorwitzmd
N95s keep healthcare workers safe who are in prolonged close proximity to people who are definitely sick and who are putting large amounts of virus in the air right next to them. They are also good for stopping us from getting you sick if we have caught it. That’s it. /The End.
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Leora Horwitz Mar 3
Incidentally even healthcare workers have trouble using personal protective equipment correctly. Here's a lovely article in about reasons why by & colleagues for which I wrote an accompanying editorial (next tweet)
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Leora Horwitz Mar 3
Replying to @JAMAInternalMed
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