Is My Mask Effective Against Corona?

Wearing a face mask in public places reduces the chances of infection and prevents it from spreading, as those who are pre-symptomatic can spread the virus before showing symptoms.

According to the current evidence, Covid-19 virus is primarily transmitted between people via respiratory droplets and contact routes. Wearing a face mask in public places reduces the chances of infection and prevents it from spreading, as those who are pre-symptomatic can spread the virus before showing symptoms.

Till the time a vaccine is not developed the most effective ways of protecting yourself include washing hands frequently with soap and water and practising physical distancing wearing face masks.

According to WHO, health workers and caregivers, who work in clinical areas should continuously wear a medical mask during their routine activities; apart from when eating and drinking and changing their medical mask after caring for a patient who requires droplet/contact precautions for other reasons.

Worldwide shortages of personal protective equipment have led health agencies to recommend the use of home-made cloth face coverings as an alternative.

There is mounting evidence supporting the effectiveness of universal mask-wearing to reduce transmission of COVID-19, but masks are only effective when used correctly.

Why you should avoid wearing N-95 masks with valves

The Director-General of Health Services, Ministry of Health, has warned against the “inappropriate use of N95 masks, especially those that contain respiratory valves.

The Director-General, Dr Rajiv Garg, wrote in a letter to states and union territories that, “the use of valved respirator N95 masks is detrimental to the measures adopted for preventing the spread of coronavirus as it doesn’t prevent the virus from escaping out of the mask.”

Valved masks are typically used in the fight against pollution, where the person needs protection from the environment.

Cloth face cover is a good method for maintaining personal hygiene. The government had in April includes face masks in their recommendations for slowing the spread of the virus. It issued an advisory on the use of homemade protective cover for face and mouth, asking people to wear it, particularly when they step out of their residences.

What mask should you wear for protection against COVID-19

The government does not recommend N95 masks with exhalation valves for general public use, it should be reserved only by healthcare and frontline workers. Surgical and cloth masks are used to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

With a variety of masks available today; scarf and bandannas are also used as an alternative to control the spread of the virus, but it is very important that mask should cover the face from the bridge of the nose to the chin.

Disposal of used masks

While cloth mask can be properly washed, disinfected, dried and reused. Blue or green, disposable masks which create a physical barrier and provide protection against droplets contaminants in the immediate environment should be disposed of properly immediately upon removal.

The used mask should be considered as potentially infected.

Masks used by patients/caregivers/close contacts during home care should be disinfected using ordinary bleach solution (5%) or sodium hypochlorite solution (1%) and then disposed of using separate bins and bags for the safe collection of COVID waste.

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