Reusing disposable masks leads to other infections, say experts

By Anurag Mallick  Published on  16 March 2020 4:06 AM GMT
Reusing disposable masks leads to other infections, say experts

Hyderabad: People are in panic mode as the number of Coronavirus cases in the country reached 100. As a precautionary measure, people have started wearing masks. In public places, people wearing different types of masks has become a common sight. The most common masks being used are surgical masks. However, people are not aware of the drawbacks of wearing such masks and their correct usage. People are reusing disposable masks.

Speaking to NewsMeter, a senior government doctor said, “According to the WHO guidelines, not everyone is required to wear a mask. An individual can wear a mask only if s/he has a cold, cough, or fever. One can also use it when going to a crowded place. The masks available in the shops are three-layer surgical masks that can be used for a period of six to 24 hours. If one reuses the mask after 24 hours, they will be prone to other infections. It is a disposable mask and should not be recycled. We should wear the N-95 mask."

He said that these days people are scared if they don’t wear a mask. "The one who is exposed to the virus should wear it. If a person suffers from cough, cold, or fever or is around people suffering from these then it is advisable to wear a mask. In crowded places, one can wear masks for safety. One should use it according to the guidelines," he said.

The WHO guideline says, “For healthy people, wear a mask only if you are taking care of a person with suspected Coronavirus infection. Wear a mask, if you are coughing or sneezing. Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If you wear a mask, you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.”

Mohd Zubair, the pharmacist of Reliance Medical Pharmacy, said, “ The mask that is in circulation right now in medical shops are disposable masks. They are meant for one-time use. But people are not aware of this. Even if you keep using the same mask, the risk of bacterial infection doubles. If one keeps using the same mask, the dust particles and sweat settle in which leads to infections, both bacterial and fungal."

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