Mask has become a mandatory accessory after the Pandemic COVID-19, especially when we know that social distancing might be hampered. All public places, government offices, hospitals, complex, etc, have made it a compulsion, and people without a mask are not allowed inside the premises. However, health experts have made a very important announcement regarding the wearing of Valve Mask. Valve Mask is mostly used in conditions where you want to protect yourself from pollution, dirt, or any other air impurities. It is known to be effective because it filters the air we inhale and the valve removes the unfiltered air from the inside of the mask to the environment. Because of this same reason, the Valve Mask doesn’t work for viruses. The chairman of Centre for Chest Surgery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Arvind Kumar, explained why the Valve Mask particularly is not effective amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Kumar points out the difference between the usage of the Valve Mask in a pollution affected environment and Virus affected environment. He said that in the first case, the primary objective of the Mask is to protect yourself, but in the second case, the primary objective is to protect others. The valve mask allows the exhaled air to go back to the environment unrestricted, thus it is not safe to wear it in virus affected conditions. Because, if a person with the virus wears a Valve Mask, the infected air will come out of the valve thus harming others.
He further said that because the breather air goes out of the valve through a small hole, the speed increases, which makes it even more dangerous.
Adding to this, the Principal Director & HOD of Institute of Respiratory Pulmonary Intensive Care spoke about the harmfulness of the of wearing a Valve Mask in the Pandemic Situation. He said that because the symptoms of the Virus often come late, it is not advisable to wear a Valve Mask as the asymptomatic person will spread the virus without even knowing that he is a carrier of the COVID. Senior Pediatrician and Group Medical Director of Apollo Hospitals Group, Anupam Sibal also spoke about the harmfulness of the Valve Mask and said that such masks have been banned in several places. The San Francisco Department of Public Health and Atul Gawande, who is a surgeon and a public health researcher amongst many others, tweeted regarding the ban of the Valve Masks. Because the Valve Mask makes breathing easier and prevents the moisture building, a lot of people prefer to use the Valve Mask. They are also being advertised in a way that makes them look fashionable and effective as well. But as we mentioned, these masks are not at all safe in the Pandemic Situation and one should avoid these masks.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, recommends the use of cloth masks during this Pandemic and advised people to not wear the Valve Mask. In case you are looking for a mask that can give you protection against the COVID-19, you should keep a note of these 3 very important features. According to Jai Dhar Gupta, the founder of Nirvana Being and citizen movement- My right to breathe, a mask should have the following features. Viral Filtration Efficiency should be 95%, the material of the mask should be comfortable and breathable, and most importantly the mask should cover your face and fit well. All of these features are very crucial and should not be ignored while looking to purchase a mask. According to CDC, cloth masks are effective as the layers of cotton prevent infectious particles from entering or escaping. However, the best ways to prevent the virus from entering your body is to wash your hands immediately after any contact with a foreign object or person, and maintaining as much physical distance as possible. Wearing a mask without a valve shows that you are a responsible person and care about others as much as you care about yourself. Because we can fight this virus only when we come out together united, it is wise to make everyone aware of this.