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Asks for Masks: Your Mask Questions Answered

Learn how to help your family practice good mask habits during COVID-19.
4 min read
October 16, 2020
Kate Major
Certified Physician Assistant
Kate speaks fluent Spanish and has worked with underserved communities and refugee populations. She strives to ensure each child feels listened to and valued.

Leer en español

As more activities open up across the county, it is important to continue to work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Along with hand washing and social distancing, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all children over the age of two wear a mask in public. This is a major shift in everyday behavior, and it may be a little challenging for some kids to adapt. To help your family practice good mask habits, we have answered the most common questions about masks and provided some tips to make this shift a bit easier for everyone.  

Why do kids need to wear masks?
Kids can contract COVID-19, but in general, their symptoms are mild. In some cases, a child could have the virus without showing any symptoms at all. COVID-19 spreads easily through everyday actions such as coughing, sneezing, or talking. By wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing their hands, your child is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and playing an important role in keeping everyone safe.

What makes a good fit?
Comfort is key! A mask that fits well is easier for kids to keep on and more effective at reducing virus transmission. If a mask fits well, your child won’t feel the need to touch their face to adjust it. A well-fitted mask covers your child’s nose, mouth, and chin without gapping. The best masks have at least two layers of breathable fabric and are secured with elastic straps around the ears or behind the head.

How can I make picking out a mask fun?
Involve your child by letting them choose a mask with a fun pattern, their favorite characters, or their favorite sports team logo. As a fun family activity, you can make and decorate masks together at home. The CDC has provided both sew and no-sew patterns for approved homemade masks.

How many masks does my child need?
For a child going to school every day, it is important to have a fresh mask every morning. Each child should have three to four reusable masks, and they should not share or trade masks with each other. Masks need to be washed in hot water and dried on high heat after every use.

What if my child resists wearing a mask?
Talk to your child about why it’s important to wear a mask. Explain the virus and how it spreads using simple, neutral language that will convey the seriousness of COVID-19 without frightening them. Express that they are helping their community stay safe by wearing the mask. By wearing your own mask, you will be modeling healthy behavior and your children will notice.

What can I do to help younger children with masks?
Younger children may take longer to learn how and when to wear a mask. You can normalize wearing masks by using them during play. Practice wearing masks at home while playing hide-and-seek, or place a mask on their favorite stuffed animals and dolls. As wearing masks become more routine for young children, they will adapt and follow directions. Remember that masks should not be worn by children under the age of two.

What if my child has unique challenges related to wearing a mask?
For children with sensory challenges, make sure the fabric is soft and consider using a headband with buttons to secure the mask. If your child is hard of hearing or deaf, consider wearing a mask with a clear cover across the mouth so they can still read lips. A mask with a nose wire can help minimize fogging for children who wear glasses.

Wearing a mask is an adjustment for all of us. Listen to your child’s questions, validate their concerns, and reinforce the importance of working together to create a safe and healthy environment during this challenging time. Focus on positive reinforcement and be sure to praise your children when they wear their masks correctly.

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Parent Story
A father was concerned when his son was showing COVID-19 symptoms. His school uses Hazel, so he was able to contact a Hazel doctor from home.

The Hazel provider recommended he get a COVID-19 test and shared resources to help find a testing center in their area. The father was eager to help his son feel better and appreciated being able to quickly get answers and advice.
Nurse Story
A student came into the nurse's office with a sprained ankle. After icing her foot, she still was in pain, so the nurse called Hazel. Thankfully, her family had provided consent for over-the-counter pain relief because she was able to take some medicine and return to class feeling better.

After the visit, the Hazel provider reached out to the school nurse to check on the student’s injury. The nurse shared that the student’s ankle was improving, and she appreciated the follow-up.
Parent Story
A mother noticed her son was getting low on his asthma medication. She tried to schedule a visit with his doctor to refill his prescription, but no appointments were available. She didn’t want her son to run out of medicine, so she reached out to Hazel.

The provider was able to send the refill to a local pharmacy within one day. The mother was happy that her son would have the medicine he needed. She was also amazed at how easy and fast the entire process was.
Student Story
A student was coughing and sneezing a lot, but her family wasn’t sure if she was sick or had allergies. Thankfully, her school used Hazel, and they could get an answer.

After talking with the school nurse and the Hazel provider about her symptoms and medical history, the student was happy to find out it was likely allergies. She got some medicine and returned to class feeling better.
Student Story
During the pandemic, a high school student was having a hard time coping. She was sad about COVID-19 impacting her senior year, and she was worried about the state of the world. The student was also struggling with some personal conflicts, and she felt she didn't have the right support at home. After discussing her feelings, a Hazel doctor connected her with resources that she described as “life-changing.” She was very grateful and shared that she didn't know where to go for help before Hazel.
Parent Story
Shortly after COVID-19 began, a student began to develop tics. Her parents took her to a neurologist, but they wanted to get her into counseling as well. The student’s mother was having a hard time finding answers to her questions and didn’t know where to start the process, so she turned to Hazel.

The Hazel doctor listened as the mother shared her concerns and frustrations. Hazel reassured her that they would find the right services for her child. After the initial visit, the Hazel doctor partnered with the school counselor and the student’s mother to identify resources and counseling services that are a good fit.
Student Story
A student came into the nurse’s office because his vision went blurry. The Hazel doctor looked at his eyes, but he did not see any injury. As he asked him questions about his symptoms, he started to sense that he was down about something. After a few minutes, the student shared that he was really sad because his mom was recently diagnosed with cancer. He explained that he feels worried, and it’s hard for him to focus.

Hazel called home, and the student’s mother confirmed her diagnosis. They discussed how to help manage the child’s stress, and Hazel offered to connect the child with counseling resources through the school. The mother was very grateful for the guidance and was eager to get her child help during a stressful time.
Counselor Story
Hazel Health has been integral this year in getting our students the mental health services needed to help them live healthy lives.  The staff has been attentive, prompt, and resourceful. There is an evident sense of caring for the work they do and the students they serve. It has been a pleasure partnering with Hazel Health in providing mental wellness for our Garland ISD families.