Explained: Why Are N95 Masks With Respirators Ineffective?

News Desk: The Health Ministry of India wrote to the State Health and Medical Education Secretaries to discourage the use of N95 masks with valves as they do not filter exhaled air. The Ministry also stated that these masks are inappropriately used by the public rather than the designated health workers.

The N95 masks are designated only to be used by health workers as they are the most vulnerable to come in contact with the virus.

In the letter, the Director-General of Health Services (DGHS), Rajiv Garg wrote, “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.”

What are N95 respirators: N95 respirators are Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which are used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and liquid contamination. It reduces the person’s exposure to particles including small particles and large droplets. These respirators are designed primarily for health care workers and construction workers to protect them from dust particles.

Types of N95 respirators we need to avoid: The N95 masks with valves in them are not as beneficial as it was told earlier. One must avoid a mask which has valves. The valve in the masks is only a ‘one-way valve’, which is only going to protect the person wearing the mask. However, these masks do not filter the aerosols coming out of the person’s mouth. This immediately puts others around the person at risk.

The best type of mask for general use: The Health Ministry has suggested that people can use any cotton cloth cut out into a face cover. Masks without valves can also be used.

The Ministry stressed that the masks must be washed and cleaned after every use. They also urged people to wash their hands thoroughly before wearing the face cover.

Image Source: Internet


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A multimedia journalist based out of Guwahati, covering public policy, healthcare, and social issues.


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