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  4. What are N95 masks? Should they be used to stop COVID-19? Know from doctors

What are N95 masks? Should they be used to stop COVID-19? Know from doctors

The latest studies reveal that not all N95 masks are effective in stopping the deadly virus. Masks with valve respirators aren't likely to stop the disease, instead, allow the wearer's germs to spread. A group of doctors on a special segment on India TV share why these masks with valves should not be used and why you should switch to homemade or surgical masks.

Written by: Health Desk New Delhi Updated on: July 22, 2020 14:07 IST

Face masks and gloves are said to be the safest and most accessible bet to defend COVID19 infection. Health experts have been saying this since the beginning that everyone should wear masks before stepping out of the house and maintain social distancing to contain the spread of coronavirus. However, the latest studies reveal that not all N95 masks are effective in stopping the deadly virus. Masks with valve respirators aren't likely to stop the disease, instead, allow the wearer's germs to spread. Health experts claim that masks with exhalation valves allow the release of large respiratory droplets in the air instead of blocking the particle that could spread COVID19. A group of doctors on a special segment on India TV shares why these masks with valves should not be used and why you should switch to homemade or surgical masks. Discussing the loopholes of N95 masks, doctors said that that common people should not use these types of masks as it increases the chances of infection. 

How should you wear a mask?

You should make sure that the mask you are wearing is tight enough and should cover your nose and mouth properly. It is important to identify which area of the mask should be in the front and which should be in on the top and bottom. Whenever you wear a mask sanitize your mask and then wear it. Handle your mask with the help of the strings. You can wear a mask for as long as 8 hours. However, if you have lung disease or asthma, you should discuss it with your doctor. However, the homemade masks that you are using should be washed with hot water. 

How should you deal with the mask?

Should you wear the mask in a closed environment? If any person has could cold or light fever it should be assumed as COVID until your test comes negative. These people as well as their families should wear masks at all times. If you are interacting with anyone outside presume that the person is COVID positive. Do not touch the front area of the mask and keep the mask in the trash area and not on the table.

What are N95 respirators?

It is a respiratory protective designed to achieve a very close facial fit and a very efficient filtration of airborne particles. 'N' stands for non-oil meaning it can be used if oil-based particulates are not present. '95' means it has a 95 percent efficiency to filter airborne particles.

What is the effect of the valve in N95 masks?

As users of N-95 masks may find it difficult to breathe, some models come with an exhalation valve that can make breathing out easier and help redice heat build-up.

What doctors around the world think about N95 masks?

San Francisco health officer Dr. Tomas Aragon claimed in his order signed in May, "Any mask that incorporates a one-way valve (typically a raised plastic cylinder about the size of a quarter on the front or side of the mask) that is designed to facilitate easy exhaling allows droplets to be released from the mask, putting others nearby at risk."

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has stated that standard N95 masks' respirators reduce the exposure by filtering around 95 percent of air particles, however, those with valve respirators allow the 'unfiltered exhaled air to escape.'

The Director-General of Health Services in the Ministry of Health also observed that there is "inappropriate use" of N-95 masks, particularly those with the valved respirator. DGHS Rajiv Garg said in the warning letter against the use of N95 masks with the valved respirator, "It is to bring to your knowledge that the use of valved respirator N-95 masks is detrimental to the measures adopted for preventing the spread of coronavirus as it does not prevent the virus from escaping out of the mask. In view of the above, I request you to instruct all concerned to follow the use of face/mouth cover and prevent inappropriate use of N-95 masks."

In India, there are 1.16 million cases of coronavirus with around 7 lakh 25 thousand people recovered from the deadly disease. Many health experts all around the world are trying hard to come up with the vaccine to treat COVID19. Recently, Serum Institute of India CEO, Adar Poonawalla disclosed information on how much the Oxford-AstraZeneca jointly formed COVID-19 vaccine could cost in India.  

He told New Indian Express, "We will keep it under Rs 1,000. Having said that, our aim is to provide an efficacious and affordable vaccine. We are certain that it will be procured and distributed by governments without charge."

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