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Time to Mask Up

Time to Mask Up

With Coronavirus cases on the rise in the United States, following CDC recommendations for staying safe is essential. Many towns, cities, and states are mandating that masks are worn when in public. When practicing social distancing, it is recommended that you stay 6 feet away from others to reduce the risk of breathing in their respiratory particles. If you are able to stay 6 feet apart, the mask provides an additional barrier. Wearing a mask benefits the wearer and surrounding people. The virus can be spread through respiratory droplets; to limit contact with the virus or to decrease the spray of particles, masks are a basic necessity. Especially for asymptomatic carriers, masks provide protection for others around them. 

More retailers are selling varieties of masks than ever before. Antimicrobial masks, copper masks, neck gaiters, N95 respirators, cloth masks, and more are available to customers. Due to the shortage of N95 respirators, it is recommended that these masks are not used so that they are available for medical professionals and first responders. 

The World Health Organization has published recommendations for masks. It is essential that masks are designed to fit closely on your chin, nose, and cheeks. They also recommended that the ideal masks contain three layers. When looking for masks, take into account the fabric, fit, and breathability. The tightness of the fibers, like 100% cotton or jean material, is important. According to this NPR article, hold your mask towards a light and if you can easily see the outline of the fibers, it would not be as effective. 

Fabric masks should have multiple layers in order to provide protection against small particles. A popular design consists of two layers with a pocket for a filter in between. NPR discusses using polypropylene as the material for the filter. Oly-fun is an example of a brand of polypropylene. The electrostatic charge in the fabric traps incoming and outgoing droplets. Based on recommendations from May Chu, clinical professor at the University of Colorado in the school of public health, and Christopher Zangmeister, the article does not recommend using coffee filters as a filter as it can be hard to breathe through. Instead, one ends up breathing around the filter. Two tissues folded together also can provide protection as a filter. Folds and pleats in masks allow for more airflow through masks. As mentioned previously, the fibers of the fabric should be tight in order to protect against particles. Neck gaiters provide less chance for air to escape through the sides of the mask. Therefore, they can be a good option. Avoid masks with a valve in the front. The valve releases air as someone breathes out. Therefore, this does not protect the people around you. Here are some suggestions from NBC on fabric face masks to purchase. 

Antimicrobial masks provide self-cleaning benefits to keep the mask in good condition. They help to prevent bacteria from building up and to reduce odors. Copper masks are one example of an antimicrobial mask. Copper kills bacteria and viruses on contact. NBC reports that Richard Martinello, professor of infectious diseases at Yale School of Medicine, remarked on how there is limited information about the effectiveness of antimicrobial masks. He discusses how a copper mask would need to have copper intertwined in each fiber to be particularly effective. This would limit breathability and would be expensive. NBC provides some suggestions for antimicrobial masks. 

Surgical masks were initially in short supply. They have become more readily available as the pandemic has progressed. Some are made of paper while others are made of polypropylene. These masks are effective in blocking the wearer's respiratory droplets. This study showed that the surgical masks do not block most small particles from penetrating the filter. 

Regardless of what mask you choose, it is essential to keep masks clean. Cloth masks should be washed daily with soap and hot water. Surgical masks should be thrown out after use. While masks help to protect you and others, following the other protocols like washing hands and staying 6 feet apart is essential for staying safe. Also, remember not to touch your face or the mask once it has been put on. Otherwise, your hands may pick up the particles from the mask. 

We, at Cold FAid, are masking up with you! Stay safe and keep doing your part. 

Celebrating Safely

Celebrating Safely

Happy Fourth of July!  Independence day is when the Colonies’ Second Continental Congress adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence. This resource provides background about the History of Independence Day from PBS. Often, celebrations include time with family and friends, bonfires, fireworks, barbeques, picnics, and parades. The pandemic has made celebrations look differently. While we are not physically celebrating together, there are more opportunities for intimate gatherings. When planning celebrations for the 4th and other major events throughout the summer, adjusting typical celebration plans will be essential by following the CDC guidelines.

Songs, such as “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood, express pride and gratitude for being an American citizen. As Greenwood alludes to, Americans embrace many freedoms that set us apart from other countries around the world. The lyrics honor those who have given their lives for the liberties we treasure today. As our nation suffers from health, social and economic crises, American nationalism is at an all-time low based on a recent Gallop poll. While lack of control due to pandemic and protests may be impacting these numbers, it is important to discuss these feelings of uncertainty and find ways that you can help your community. 

For many, how we experience freedom in the United States depends on our race, gender and sexuality. Those who have given their lives in history for this nation have come in different races, genders and sexualities. Michael Smerconish on CNN questioned if the poll asked the right question. We may not be proud of America currently due to many factors, but, as he describes, we may be proud to be an American overall. 

We are continuing to take steps in the right direction. Just-celebrated Juneteenth, a celebration of the emancipation of slavery, is considered the second American independence day. This year, many large corporations including Target, Nike, Adobe, Citigroup, and Twitter recognized it as a paid holiday. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that June 19th will be an official New York state holiday starting in 2021. State workers were given the day off this year. Virginia's governor, Ralph Northam, is also proposing making it a paid state holiday. 

The month of June is Pride month celebrating the LGBTQIA community. Fifty-one years ago, on June 28 to July 3rd, the Stonewall Riots created a lasting impact.  These riots inspired a civil rights movement. In June 1970, one year after the riots, New York’s first Pride parade began. When recounting information about the riots and parades, Evelyn Hammonds, Harvard chair of the Department of the History of Science, mentions this parade as the first visible public event where people could freely express their sexuality and for allies to support others. Today, Pride celebrations continue throughout the month of June.

While there is still work that needs to be done in the US, progress is being made. Continue to educate oneself, to listen to others, and to be proactive. This further weaves us together into one nation. 

Once again, we at Cold FAid™ wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July!

It's time to listen and learn.

It's time to listen and learn.

Systemic racism has been woven into the foundation of the United States for hundreds of years. Numerous incidents in the past few months have inspired protests to enact change. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are two, of so many, Black people who have died as a result of police brutality. Now is the time to support Black lives in a variety of ways. As a white woman run company, this article is going to focus on ways that white people can help support the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Educate Yourself 

While we cannot change what has happened historically, we need to learn about the past and make changes to help support the future generations. This 4 minute video by act.tv helps to visualize how systemic racism impacts individuals.

Listen. Take the time to truly listen to others' experiences. Create a list of topics that you are interested in learning more about. Explore multiple sources on the topic, and take the time to dive into it. If you are active on social media, amplify black people’s voices to help spread their experiences as well as educational resources. 

Read books about racism and white privilege. Here are book options recommended by Black professors and scholars compiled by Business insider. If you would prefer to watch a movie delving into these topics, here is a list of movies as well as children’s books, scholarly articles, and websites gathered by Forbes. Warner Brothers has also released the movie Just Mercy, a true courtroom drama that relates to the injustice in the legal system, on YouTube, ITunes, Amazon Prime Video, and Google Play for free during the month of June. 

If there are young children in your life, here are resources from PBS to aid conversations about race. 

By educating yourself, you may feel more confident in calling out others. Teaching Tolerance has created a six step plan to speaking up. Be prepared, point out the behavior, pertain to their better instincts, draw a line for yourself, find a support group of like minded people, and continue to speak up as it will take time. 


Whether you have the means to donate or not, you can make your voice heard by financially supporting different activist groups. Charity Navigator created a list of highly rated civil rights organizations in which to donate. Here is another resource by the Los Angeles Times that can be beneficial when deciding what charity to support. If you do not have the finances to donate, watch this YouTube video without skipping ads. All proceeds are going to organizations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Support Black businesses near you. The website, Support Black Owned, can help you find Black owned businesses near you.

For other resources, explore the article, 100 ways you can take action against racism now, compiled by USA Today. 

It is time to recognize racism in American and to take active steps to enact change. We, at Cold FAid™, stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. We strive to listen. We look to educate ourselves and others.