BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – While COVID-19 has caused a worldwide demand for surgical masks (face masks), it is important to know how to effectively maximize its use and who should be given priority considering the limited stocks in the market.
Health experts have given light on how to properly use surgical masks and who should wear them amid the COVID-19 scare.
Health experts said that those who have respiratory illness must wear surgical masks, with the white side or the absorbent side facing the mouth and the nose.
The white layer keeps the mask and face dry. It is absorbent and prevents germs from being released into the atmosphere, thus protecting others from getting infected.
According to Dr. Seto Wing Hong, co-director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control, the blue or colored side must face out because it blocks moisture and filters fluids from other commuters.
A face mask is meant to help prevent large-particle droplets, sprays, splashes, or splatters that may contain germs. (READ also: The CoViD-19 Saga: Should We Wear a Mask at Home?)
It filters bodily fluids such as saliva, blood, and/or small particles from other people.
It can only be used within 8-10 hours.
Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, a World Health Organization country representative, said not all people need to wear a mask.
Only those who are taking care of the infected person and those who are under investigation are advised to wear masks and gloves.
“Normal people going about normal work don’t need to wear surgical masks or n95 masks. If you’re visiting somebody in a healthcare facility where there is a concentration of people with respiratory infections or you’re visiting a crowded place like a wet market, you may wear a mask but you don’t have to routinely wear masks from morning to evening,” said Abeyasinghe. (READ also Face Masks: To wear or not to wear, that is the question)
Health experts said people having direct contact with infected persons must wear an n95 mask because it protects the wearer from catching bacteria or viruses. If worn properly, the n95 mask blocks at least 95 percent of very small particles.