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Ministry of Health says your N95 masks with respirator valves are not safe to use

Published on:21 July 2020, 19:28pm IST
The health ministry is showing concern about the inappropriate use of N-95 masks, particularly those with valved respirators.
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Not all masks are the same! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, we have all been wondering what kind of masks to trust and which ones to avoid. Of course, the markets are bursting with a wide array of options; however which of them all work the best is still a mystery. 

That said, recently the Ministry of Health has warned all states and union territories the use of N-95 masks with valved respirators. According to the Centre, these masks do not prevent the virus from spreading and prove to be “detrimental” to the measures adopted for its containment.

Make your own masks with clean cotton fabrics. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The Director General of Health Services (DGHS), Ministry of Health, expressed his concerns, in a letter to the Principal Secretaries of health and medical education of states, regarding “inappropriate use” of N-95 masks, particularly those with valved respirators, by the public other than designated health workers.

“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,” DGHS Rajiv Garg said in the letter.

In the month of April, the government had issued an advisory, asking people to wear home-made protective cover for face and mouth, especially when they step out of their residences.

face mask
You mustn’t step out of your home without a mask, EVER! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The advisory emphasised upon the regular washing and cleanliness of these masks, as instructed, and informed that any used cotton cloth could be used to make this face cover.

He laid emphasis on the fabric and also listed the procedures of making such home-made masks. He appealed that the fabrics should be washed with warm water and salt and asked to make sure that the masks had no gaps and that they fit well. 

The ministry is also urging people to wash their hands thoroughly before wearing the face cover and switching to a fresh one if it becomes damp or humid. Needless to say that these masks should be cleaned after every single use.

“Never share the face cover with anyone. Every member in a family should have separate face cover,” the advisory stated.

(With inputs from PTI)

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