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Working in a dental office requires many more layers these days. According to cdc.gov, “the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.” Whether you agree with masks in public or not, you surely want your dental professionals covering their mouths!

For our protection, and the protection of our pediatric patients, we wear N95 masks, surgical masks, glasses and face shields — provided by eKAMI (East Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute) in Paintsville. Over our scrubs, we wear thick surgical gowns. Gloves are worn almost every minute. By the time we are completely dressed, we look like we are going into space!

The N95 mask was a pill to get used to, pressing so tightly to my face that at first it was hard to breathe. After the first few days, I had a scratchy throat from mouth-breathing. The second week, I realized I was continuously holding my mouth open in a yawn position to keep it from going into my eyes. (My co-workers had their mouths open, too; I just couldn’t tell.)

We were all surprised after putting on two masks and a face shield that it diminished our hearing!

Since the coronavirus, the new waiting room is the parking lot. Parents, grandparents and guardians wait in the comfort of their cars as their children and teenagers are quickly seen, without coming into contact with anyone else. In 90-plus degree weather, while walking back and forth to the patients’ vehicles, the N95 becomes a small oven on the face. Water drips into my mouth, and I can feel sweat rolling down my back. If I’m not thinner by the end of summer, I’m gonna be sooo mad!

It’s not unbearable. Just inconvenient. But when the heat soars, the sweat drips and the coverings bind, frustration sets in. It’s easy to begin complaining.

There are a few pros about the N95 masks: They hide double chins, wild hairs, mustaches and zits. They actually save you time getting ready for work since you can’t wear makeup. And there’s no need to fix your hair because the double elastic straps can destroy any hairspray or treatment.

Wearing an N95, surgical mask and face shield reminds me that I need to be careful what comes out of my mouth! Something contagious could spew if I cough, sneeze, talk or even laugh.

As a follower of Christ, I need to be careful about other things — besides germs — that spew from my yap! Long before the coronavirus, the Bible has encouraged me repeatedly to watch what I say. Ephesians 4:29 instructs: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up…” “Unwholesome” not only includes curse words, but also hurtful, cutting and critical words. Just because I’m an American doesn’t mean I should say everything I think! I need to build others up with my words, not tear down — even if it’s hot outside!

Psalm 39:1 screams face masks: “… I will keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth …” I’m realizing I need something to cover my mouth at all times!

Dawn Reed writes a weekly column for HD Media. She can be contacted at preacherswife7@yahoo.com.