Srinagar Mar 23: With the rising demand for masks since the outbreak of novel (new) coronavirus, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Monday advised people of Kashmir valley to use face masks rationally.
“We need to make sure we reserve the masks for healthcare workers and vulnerable who need them most,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“Face masks should not be used by healthy individuals,” he said adding “there is no scientific evidence to show health benefits of using mask for non-sick persons in the community during a pandemic.”
Dr Nisar said use of masks in normal individuals creates a false sense of security that can lead to the neglect of other essential preventive measures like hand washing.
“In fact, erroneous use of masks and repeated use of the same mask may actually increase the risk of getting an infection,” he added.
“If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person who is suspected of having the novel virus infection,” Dr Nisar said.
“Face masks should also be worn by persons who are coughing or sneezing,” he said
Dr Nisar said it would also be rational for people in quarantine to wear face mask to prevent potential spread of the infection.
“In addition, vulnerable populations such as older people and those with medical conditions should wear face masks if supplies permit,” he said.
Dr Nisar said all healthcare workers should mandatorily wear masks.
“There are two types of masks used to prevent infection – surgical masks and N95 type masks,” he said.
“I am seeing people in the streets wearing N95 masks which are not meant for them,” Dr Nisar said adding “N95 masks are for those healthcare workers who are managing infective cases of the novel virus in isolation wards.
“These masks are meant for the protection of the wearer during procedures like bronchoscopy, respiratory/airway suctioning, and intubation,” he said.
“These high-end masks are for those laboratory personnel dealing with samples of patients infected with the new virus,” he added.
“The face masks should be changed after every 6 to 8 hours and the used ones should be disposed of as per waste disposal guidelines,” said Dr Nisar.