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A Change in Cook Children's Mask Policy for Patient Families: Why We are Saying No to Masks With Valves.

By Hannah Chong, M.D., FAAP

The next time you visit one of our clinics or hospitals, you may notice a slight change to our mask policy. We still require all patients, accompanying family members, and staff to wear a mask when they enter any of our facilities. However, we now discourage anyone from wearing masks with valves.

Now why is that?

The reason why we wear masks is two-fold. It is to protect us, but also to protect those around us. The valves that are used in masks are one-way valves. These valves close when you inhale so air and other particles cannot get in. Therefore, you are protected when you breathe in. However, the valves open when you breathe out, which exposes those around you to completely unfiltered exhaled air. Though you may be protected by these masks, everyone around you is not. This is especially important if you are or could be sick. Anyone with COVID-19 could be contagious before they start developing symptoms. This is why it is important for all of us to help prevent the spread of infection by wearing masks that protect ourselves and those around us.

If anyone happens to come to any of our Cook Children’s locations wearing masks with valves, they will be provided a mask (without a valve) instead. 

Here are examples of acceptable masks (homemade masks, surgical/procedural masks (tie or ear loop) and dust masks), courtesy of the Mayo Clinic:

N95 masks are preferred for health care personnel during specific activities, but may be worn by patients or visitors if that is what they are wearing when they arrive on campus.

As far as unacceptable masks, the are the masks with vents that allow unfiltered exhaled air to escape. These are the masks that should not be worn at any Cook Children's site.

Please help us keep you and our patients safe. We are all in this together!

Get to know Dr. Chong

Hannah F. Chong. M.D., FAAP, joined the Cook Children's Flower Mound office in December 2019. Dr. Chong was born in New York City and raised in Houston. She received her undergraduate degree in Microbiology at the University of Texas in Austin, where she graduated Cum Laude. She earned her medical degree from the University of Texas at Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Chong moved back to Houston for her pediatric residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. In her last year as a pediatric resident, Dr. Chong was part of the disaster ride-out team at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital during Hurricane Harvey. After residency, she remained in Houston as a pediatric hospitalist at the Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center. 

Dr. Chong has always had a passion for children and chose pediatrics because she feels she can really make a difference in each child's life. She believes in the importance of educating families so they can provide the best care for their little ones. She thoroughly enjoys the smiles and hugs that are the perks of being a pediatrician and looks forward to the privilege of being a part of each child's life as they grow and develop.

In her free time, Dr. Chong enjoys watching Friends reruns, barre workouts, and traveling. She can also be seen exploring the Dallas food scene with her fiance. Click here to learn more about Dr. Chong. To make an appointment with Dr. Chong, call 972-691-2388 or click here.

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