NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - As more and more people get infected with coronavirus, medical experts are urging people to wear a mask whenever leaving the house.

Masks are hard to find right now. If you can find one, do you know how much protection you’re getting from it?

Almost anything that covers your mouth will protect you to some degree.

“The more people that have masks on and the more social distancing there is, the more likely we are to stop this,” said Dr. Corey Slovis, Chairman of Vanderbilt Emergency Medicine.

Because there are so many different options when it comes to masks, News4 wanted to find out what gives a person the most protection.

"If you have a surgical mask and you don’t touch it with your hands and only touch the elastic while you’re going in and out of stores, that mask can be used over and over again safely,” said Slovis.

You want to be sure if you're going to re-wear it, you wash or sanitize your hands before putting it on and taking it off.

With masks in such high-demand right now, on Amazon, a quick search showed you couldn't get one until the end of May. Some people are wearing bandanas and t-shirts to cover their mouth.

“If everyone is covering their mouth with a bandana, the likelihood of infecting someone else drops down,” said Slovis.

Slovis said while it might not offer you the same kind of protection a surgical mask will, a bandana can certainly help stop the spread of the virus.

Medical experts say you can re-wear a mask, and you should, but only if it hasn't been contaminated. If you think you've been exposed to someone with the virus while wearing it, throw that mask out.


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