700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Why Masks Are Important, Even After Having COVID-19

Feb 16, 2021
Family of four wearing face masks

If you or someone you know has had COVID-19, you’ve probably heard that you are immune (unable to get it again) after recovery for at least a short period of time. So, you may be wondering, during this period, should you still wear a mask? The answer is yes. Masks are still important. Social distancing is still important. Here’s why. 

Most people are believed to have antibodies after having COVID. Unless you are tested, however, there’s no way to be sure. Additionally, evidence shows that even with antibodies, you can still pass the virus on. Maybe not necessarily from the infection you already had, but by being exposed again. 

Having antibodies, whether it’s because you’ve gotten a vaccine or because you’ve gotten sick and recovered, doesn’t keep the virus out of your nose. Antibodies help your immune system to fight the infection. But while those antibodies are fighting the virus and keeping you from getting sick, you can still spread the virus to others through respiratory droplets (small droplets produced when you breathe, sneeze or cough). 

Will we ever get rid of masks? Hopefully. That’s why increasing the number of people who are vaccinated - who become immune to the virus - is so important. So that even if we’re exposed, we are protected. And even if others are exposed, they are protected, too. 

There is a lot the medical community still doesn’t know about the long-term immunity to COVID-19. How will the vaccine affect the spread of the virus? How long after we’re vaccinated does immunity last? Other than antibodies, how does the immune system fight against the virus? The good news is that we can begin learning the answers to these questions, and in turn, slowly get back to life as we once knew it! 

This is all good news for children too. Clinical trials for pediatric vaccines are underway, and time is on the side of researchers. Scientists and the health care community know so much more about COVID-19 than they did a year ago when they started developing the vaccine for adults. As we learn more about how the vaccine works in adults, scientists can apply these learnings to the pediatric vaccine. 

In the meantime, if you want to keep your kids and families safe from COVID-19, wear your mask.

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Abbie Roth
Abbie Roth, MWC
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Abbie Roth, MWC, is a passionate communicator of science. As the managing editor for science communication at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, she shares stories about innovative research and discovery with audiences ranging from parents to preeminent researchers and leaders.

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.