India

Coronavirus: N95 masks with valves can be detrimental for preventing COVID-19

New Delhi: The health ministry today has warned against “inappropriate use of N95 masks, especially those that contain respiratory valves” by the citizens. In a letter to all states and union territories, Rajiv Garg, the director general of health services, ministry of health said “It is to bring to your knowledge that the use of valved respirator N95 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 N95 masks,” he added.

Garg also encouraged public to use home-made face masks. Wearing a face mask in public places is now mandatory in India. The central government had earlier issued an advisory on how to make protective face covers at home. Any cotton clothes can a used as a cover for face and mouth.

The cloth must be washed using boiling water for at least five minutes. Then, it needs to be completely dried before using it as face cover. One must ensure that the mask fits the face and there should not be any gap on the sides. Face masks need to washed and cleaned every day.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) also issued a detailed guidelines on how to wear and dispose face mask. One needs to wash hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before wearing a mask. Alcohol-based sanitisers can also be used. The face cover must fit properly, covering one’sr mouth, nose and chin, the medical council said.

The mask needs to be changed after every eight hour. Wet masks should be avoided. The mask needs to disposed in closed bin when it is done. One needs to hands wash after disposing the face cover. Face masks should not be shared. Every one should use their own mask to fight against COVID-19.

Citing the high price of masks in the market, the Maharashtra government decided to form a committee to fix the prices of face masks and hand sanitizers. “The use of masks and sanitizers has increased due to the spread of coronavirus. A committee will be formed to fix their prices. Relief should be given to the common people,” the state health minister Rajesh Tope said.

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