Masks with valves ineffective in fight against Covid-19

Masks with valves ineffective in fight against Covid-19

Why Masks with valves are ineffective fight against Covid-19

Masks with valves does not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC says on its website.

This revelation has seen Nairobi’s AgaKhan University Hospital ban masks with valves within its premises saying they only protect the wearer but not those around them.

Mask with valves: How they work

“The design of these masks allows inhaled air to be filtered but the exhaled air is not. The exhaled air can be expelled towards others even more than from a person not wearing a mask,” the notice read in part.

Many airlines have already banned customers from wearing masks with valves on flights.

According to the CDC advisory, these one-way valves are intended for use in construction work, allowing users to breathe in filtered air and exhale warm, moist air through the valve.

“These valves reduce heat and moisture inside masks, making them more comfortable to wear for long periods,” reads the CDC advisory in part.

Masks with valves are common in Kenya

Masks with valves are common with Kenyans and often look sleek and expensive meaning they are perceived to be safer. However, it is now emerging that they are a health hazard.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) “Masks with valves are intended for industrial workers to prevent dust and particles from being breathed in as the valve closes on inhale.

However, the valve opens on exhale, making it easier to breathe but also allowing any virus to pass through the valve opening. This makes the mask ineffective at preventing the spread of COVID-19 or any other respiratory virus.”

But this design doesn’t prevent the spread of infectious diseases. The main reason for wearing masks in the COVID-19 era is to prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air when a person coughs, sneezes or talks, the CDC says. But when a mask has a valve (masks with valves), respiratory droplets from the wearer are expelled into the air and could reach other people.

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