WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A Wilmington pulmonologist has a warning for people wearing masks during this pandemic: not covering your nose renders the mask pointless.
Dr. Brian Legere of Coastal Pulmonary Medicine says the coronavirus infects the nose as much as the mouth.
“Not covering your nose is basically leaving a fair amount of real estate out there to increase your risk of exposure,” Legere said. “So, really the mask should fit over the nose. Ideally, if you have a little metal band in the mask to get a good seal to keep there and then it should extend down below the chin.”
A study by the University at North Carolina at Chapel Hill says the coronavirus infects the cells in the nose much more easily than cells in the throat and lungs.
Legere says covering the nose protects you as well as the people around you.
“When you talk or just as we’re talking, we’re releasing particulates — we’re releasing bacteria and water vapor and saliva and all that,” Legere says. “It’s certainly worse when we cough or sneeze, and it’s been shown definitely that wearing a mask cuts down on how much of that material gets transmitted out into the environment.”
Germs from the nose can get into the lungs which can lead to chronic illness for people with COVID-19.
Legere, along with his partners at Coastal Pulmonary Medicine and pulmonologists at Wilmington Health are the doctors who see the sickest COVID-19 patients. The group treats all of the COVID-19 patients that end up in the intensive care unit.
He says the virus is a vicious one and anyone not wearing a mask is simply not concerned about their health or others.
“If you want to get sick and die, I guess that’s up to you but at least have the courtesy to protect the people around you,” Legere says. “And certainly if you get sick and end up in the hospital, now you’re exposing all of us. I just as soon nobody gets this thing and we can close down that COVID ICU and we got back to business as usual,” says Legere.