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You may want to ditch the valve face mask

You may want to ditch the valve face mask

Our new definition of normal is wearing mask wherever we go, we cannot leave the house without wearing one.  We’ve seen or heard from the news that putting on a mask can somehow lessen the chance of contracting COVID-19. But what if there’s a type of mask that won’t enough to serve as a protection?

Photo from CNN PH

Experts say that the valve-type mask is not sufficient

Valve masks have several benefits. In addition to protecting the wearer if fitted correctly, they allow easier exhalation than traditional masks, prevent humidity and reduce uncomfortable heat and carbon dioxide buildup inside the mask. So what’s the problem with it?

Health officials issued a warning against using valve-type masks as a mean of protection from COVID-19. They say that masks with exhaust valves are for industrial use only. Carpenters and other workers often wore them to avoid inhaling dust and other particles. This just means the valve-type mask is not for medical or surgical purposes.

Photo from USA Today

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Director-General Eric Domingo, this type of mask lacks two-way protection. He explained during a radio interview,  “They do not have infection control (a mechanism). The valves are not designed to, for instance, protect a person from inhaling the air being exhaled by an infected person wearing it.” He added that the kind of protection that we should target is two-way. If you are sick, you will not infect others and at the same time, if you are well, you will not get the infection from other infected individuals.

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The Medical City has issued a memo against wearing masks with exhaust valves inside its clinic premises. “While masks with valves are designed to ease exhalation and decrease humidity for the wearer, they do not block transmission of COVID-19 because they allow exhaled air and droplets to escape.” If you come to MMC with a mask with vents, you will be asked to replace your mask with a surgical mask.

So next time you are wearing a mask to protect yourself, make sure you are wearing one to protect others. Do you agree?

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