THE EXCESS OF USE OVER THE RECOMMENDED HOURS AND, ESPECIALLY, ITS SPECIFICATIONS LEAD TO ITS INEFFICIENCY IN THE FACE OF THE PANDEMIC
While in the months of March or April, in the midst of the sanitary crisis, the problem was the lack of masks, currently, in this second outbreak of COVID-19, it has changed towards a misuse of this instrument, both due to the excess of hours and lack of control over the specifications of the usable mask. For example, because directly its materials are not adequate to block the virus and paralyze the pandemic.
Combining daily professional, academic and even leisure activity with the current pandemic situation can only be done through compliance with strict safety regulations in which the masks are essential.
At this time, in which they are even mandatory even in open spaces, the problem is not so much that they are not used, but that they are misused. We are not talking about leaving the nose out or wearing them under the chin, gestures that are becoming more and more minority every day, but about using products that do not meet the sufficient quality to be effective, not taking into account circumstances that make them lose effectiveness as is humidity or directly not meeting specifications as occurs with many of the fabric masks.
Mask wear time: a key aspect
One of the big flaws is in the excessive use of the mask. A non-reusable mask should not exceed its use in more than four hours in a row (half a working day) and may be slightly prolonged if the use has been discontinuous, although it is advisable not to exceed these 4 hours.
But there are also factors that cause its benefits to decrease, such as humidity. It is not just about the rain, one of the handicaps that we will face especially in the coming weeks when fall enters, but the sweat itself. In these cases, special care must be taken with lower quality hygienic masks in their fabrics, such as those purchased in some large hypermarket chains, in which the alteration of your filter material.
And it is that, although these masks comply with the UNE regulations (0064 and 0065 specifically in hygienic ones) the quality in the fabric exposes them more to the outside, makes them more fragile and in the long run, although they seem cheaper, whenever they want to comply with their safety specifications, they are much more expensive.
We see a clear example in the fabric NAN300 what has launched Masks Béjar in a new line of surgical masks Washable and that in addition to preventing the penetration of microorganisms in both directions with an efficiency of 99,8%, they allow up to five washes.
Handling and washing
Another of the big mistakes is in handling, touching the fabric without washed hands, for example, and in its washing when reusable with approved fabrics.
In the first point, and for all cases, hand hygiene (soap and water or disinfectant gel) is important before putting on the mask and only touching the rubber bands or tapes. It is also important at the time of change both to leave the one we dispose of in a compartment with hermetic closure and if we take it off momentarily, leave it on a paper (an envelope is a highly recommended temporary deposit).
With respect to mask disinfection, spraying them with bleach or alcohol to reuse them is useless. If they have served their hours, they must be discarded. If they are those that allow washing, it must be done according to the specifications made by the manufacturer, which is usually at a high temperature -more than 60 degrees- for proper disinfection.
In any case, choosing quality masks and for the recommended time to be effective is essential. Not doing it or wearing non-approved masks is practically the same as not wearing a mask.