Face masks have become an integral part of our daily lives following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Touted as the first measure to protect against the virus, masks have become mandatory for all leaving their homes.
But, are you using the correct mask to prevent COVID-19? The health ministry on Monday warned against "inappropriate use of N 95 face mask respirator, especially those that contain respiratory valves."
In a letter to all states and union territories 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.
What experts are saying?
An N95 mask with a valve filters the air inhaled by the wearer for comfortable breathing. The doctors and researchers across the world have warned against using the N95 masks with a respiratory valve.
The valve in your N95 mask may be a 'one-way valve' which is only going to protect the person wearing it. A one-way valve does not filter aerosols coming out of your mouth. It will not protect anyone around that person from potential exposure to the virus they exhale.