Dr. Sara Mucowski offers practical advice during the coronavirus pandemic.
Debating if a fertility telemedicine appointment is right for you? Want to know if you’ve been wearing your mask correctly? Dr. Mucowski has the answers!
Benefits of telemedicine during COVID-19
“I encourage you to use this time when we may have more flexibility… and meet with one of our reproductive specialists like myself in the comfort of your own home.”
Hi, I’m Dr. Sara Mucowski with Dallas IVF and I wanted to take some time today to discuss reasons why you should consider scheduling a telemedicine appointment. The reasons for scheduling a telemedicine appointment are going to be the same reasons that we would schedule an in-person appointment.
Reasons not to delay fertility care during COVID-19
Those reasons include: a woman under the age of 35 who has been having unprotected sex for 12 months or more and hasn’t conceived; and a woman 35 or older who has been trying to conceive with unprotected sex for six months or longer; or any woman who has suffered two or more miscarriages. These are all indications that it’s time to sit down and meet with a reproductive specialist.
I understand that meeting with a reproductive specialist like myself or any of our team of double board-certified physicians at Dallas IVF can initially seem daunting. Even in the best of times you’re stuck struggling with finding time to schedule and appointment as well as potentially going to a new location that can be unfamiliar, meeting new people and then sitting down in an unfamiliar setting to meet with someone new like myself to discuss very personal aspects of your life.
Here to help
I encourage you to use this time when we may have more flexibility as well as new insurance coverage that allows for telemedicine the same way your benefits would work in-person, to sit down and meet with one of our reproductive specialists like myself in the comfort of your own home. That way, you can have a list you’ve already put together of questions and concerns you may have so you can feel comfortable addressing those with your reproductive specialist in the comfort of your own home.
So, until then, I recommend that you reach out and meet with one of us, because the most precious commodity you have in your fertility treatment is time. And we want to make the most of that time to be very efficient and to make sure that once things are a little bit more normalized after COVID-19 and we have access to undergo fertility testing and treatments, that we have what we think is going to be the best treatment plan in place for you at that time. We’re here to help you grow the family of your dreams. So, until then, take care and be well.
The correct way to wear a protective mask
“The proper way to wear a mask: over your nose, under your chin, and ear loops over your ears entirely.”
Hi. Dr. Sara Mucowski here and I want to discuss something today that we as healthcare providers take for granted, and that’s the putting on and taking off, or donning and doffing, of personal protective equipment or PPE, particularly the mask. So, this demo mask that I have here is from an old, long-expired first-aid kit. This is not something that would have otherwise been donated to those on the frontlines, so this is something that’s been sourced responsibly. And so I want to use this as an example to go through how to properly put on, take off and properly wear a mask.
How to wear a protective mask
Okay, so this is a pretty standard surgical mask that you may have encountered. Again, kind of has those ear loops on either side and then you want to keep in mind which side goes toward your face and which side goes towards the public, okay? So with a mask like this, the proper way to put it on … this one has a bit of a flexible metal strip that goes at the top over your nose, so that way it can be molded to fit your nose so that it’s comfortable and most protective. And then the ear loops go over each ear; I have my hair up so you can clearly see that it wraps around my entire ear lobe.
Also, you’ll notice that the bottom of the mask goes under my chin, okay? This is the proper way to wear a surgical mask. Now keep in mind the idea behind a surgical mask even in the operating room is not necessarily to protect me from the patient or the outside world or the environment but to protect the patient and the environment from my germs. The idea is that everything that I’m breathing is getting caught inside the mask and it works the same way for those of us who are wearing masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, all right?
How to take off a protective mask
The proper way then to take off the mask is to not touch anything on the outside, because this again is what has been in contact with the community, so you don’t want to potentially touch the front of your mask and then touch your eye or touch your mouth or your nose as you’re taking it off, right?
So the idea is you grab the ear loops, remove the mask in its entirety, and a disposable mask such as this should in most instances go in the trash, okay?
Proper mask disposal
This is not something that we should be throwing out on the sidewalks and definitely not throwing out in the parking lots of our supermarkets, which is something that unfortunately as a patron I have seen.
That is a huge health hazard. It is totally unfair to those workers, who are really the unsung heroes during this pandemic, for them to have to pick up our dirty germs and dispose of them, right? The whole idea is that we don’t know if we’re asymptomatic shedders of COVID-19. Those germs get trapped in here. This should go in the trash.
A lot of things I’m also seeing, particularly in areas like grocery stores and what not out in the public, and again I’m not faulting anyone for this, as a medical professional I was trained how to wear a mask, right? It wasn’t something that they just gave me one day and said good luck with. Just like we’re trained how to drive a car, and no one just gives us the keys and tells us to have at it.
So, some of the things that we’re encountering, again, the proper way to wear a mask over your nose, under your chin, ear loops over your ears entirely. What is not appropriate, again, is touching the mask because if you’re constantly adjusting then you’re gonna be potentially not only introducing germs but taking germs that you’ve encountered and placing them near your eyes, near your face, near your nose and your mouth. So we don’t want you touching the front of the mask at all once it’s on, which means we don’t want to see this. Right?
This is a common mistake that I may be seeing kind of out and about where people have the mask pulled down under their nose. If I can see your nostrils that means that you’re expelling germs, right? So you’re expelling germs potentially right out of the mask as well as out into the community. And the idea again behind the mask is to protect the community from the germs that we’re shedding, potentially asymptomatic COVID-19. We also don’t want to see the mask at your nose but then not covering your chin, okay? These instances allow for an imperfect seal and germs to escape underneath.
Furthermore, we don’t want to see masks like this, okay? I know this is something that we see a lot of on TV but this is very much not doing anyone any good, right? So if the mask is not covering my mouth and my nose that means that I am expressing germs into the air and that means that I’m potentially shedding, even asymptomatically, COVID-19.
So it is not appropriate to have your mask under here. Also, in the process, you may have taken germs that you’ve encountered and now put them at your nose, put them at your mouth, touched your hands with them and then potentially touch your face. So again, this is not something we want to see.
Stay safe during COVID-19
So just to recap, proper mask should be covering your nose under your chin, ear loops over the ears, and to remove the mask under the ear loops to take the mask off and disposing of it in the garbage. All right? Hope this helps. Again, I know it’s something that a lot of us sort of take for granted in the medical community but this is going to help us get back to our normal, our real normal, sooner rather than later, right? So I encourage everyone out there to practice safe hygiene, social distancing, hand-washing for 20 seconds, and if you are wearing a mask please wear it properly. And until then stay safe and be well.