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 Table of Contents  
SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 74-75

Promoting the rational use of masks in community, home, and hospital settings in COVID-19 pandemic


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission04-Oct-2020
Date of Decision17-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance28-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication25-Nov-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/mjhs.mjhs_5_20

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  Abstract 


The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been reported across 216 nations and territories since its emergence in the Wuhan city of China. It has been envisaged that the use of medical mask is one of the preventive strategies to limit the spread of transmission for many respiratory infections, including COVID-19. However, it is important to note that the use of the mask alone cannot provide complete protection, unless it is coupled with other infection prevention and control measures like hand hygiene. At present, the extensive usage of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not advocated owing to the shortage of masks for health-care personnel and the lack of evidence to support that wearing a mask by healthy people in community settings will prevent the acquisition of infection. In conclusion, in the fight against COVID-19 infection, the use of masks in community, home, and health-care settings needs to be clearly defined and streamlined to promote its rational usage. These masks play an important role in reducing the risk of transmission, provided it is supplemented with other infection prevention and control measures.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, infection prevention and control, masks, World Health Organization


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Promoting the rational use of masks in community, home, and hospital settings in COVID-19 pandemic. MRIMS J Health Sci 2020;8:74-5

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Promoting the rational use of masks in community, home, and hospital settings in COVID-19 pandemic. MRIMS J Health Sci [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 27];8:74-5. Available from: http://www.mrimsjournal.com/text.asp?2020/8/3/74/301483




  Introduction Top


The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been reported across 216 nations and territories since the detection of the first case in the Wuhan city of China. The global estimates are quite alarming, with more than 32.7 million cases, and 991,000 deaths have been attributed to the infection, which in turn amounts to a global case fatality rate of 3%.[1] The current trends of the disease justify the need to mount a well-coordinated and multisectoral approach for the effective containment of the disease, as no vaccine or therapeutic drug exists for the prevention and cure of the disease.


  Scope of Masks in Covid-19 Top


The available evidence is suggestive that droplets and close contact are the common modes of disease transmission and thus adherence to respiratory hygiene, frequent handwashing, and the use of personal protective equipment plays an important role in interruption of the chain of transmission of infection.[2] It has been envisaged that the use of medical mask is one of the preventive strategies to limit the spread of transmission for many respiratory infections, including COVID-19. However, it is important to note that the use of the mask alone cannot provide complete protection, unless it is coupled with other infection prevention and control measures like hand hygiene.[2],[3]


  Indications for Use of Mask Top


At present, the extensive usage of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not advocated owing to the shortage of masks for health-care personnel and the lack of evidence to support that wearing a mask by healthy people in community settings will prevent the acquisition of infection.[2] However, symptomatic people should wear a mask (by following standard recommendations to put on, take off, and dispose them), self-isolate themselves, seek medical attention for their complaints, practice hand hygiene, and maintain social distancing.[4] At present, the effectiveness of the use of nonmedical mask (like cotton fabric) is not known and it is very much influenced by the number of layers of substance, breathability, shape, fitting ability, and water repellant nature.[2]


  Use of Mask in Community Top


Moreover, the decision to use mask in community settings should be taken based on the purpose (whether for source containment by targeting confirmed cases or for prevention of acquisition of infection by targeting healthy individuals), the risk of exposure (viz., nature of the transmission imported/local/community or the nature of work like involved in contact tracing and thus in close contact with the community), presence of vulnerable population groups like elderly or people with comorbidities, the density of the population, availability and cost of mask, and ability of the people to tolerate its usage.[2],[3] In addition, the potential factors such as risk of self-contamination, giving a sense of false security (and thus ignoring other essential measures), and shortage of mask for health personnel should also be given due attention before a decision is taken to advocate the use of mask in community settings.[3]

Home-based care has been advocated for patients with mild illness, and they should be instructed to follow standard protocol for isolation, practice infection prevention, and control measures, including wearing masks and report to health authorities if the symptoms worsen.[3] The caregivers should also wear medical masks when they are in the same room as the affected person and both should change their masks once daily.[3],[4] Finally, in health-care settings, the health professionals should wear a mask whenever they enter a room in which suspect or confirmed cases are admitted. Furthermore, the symptomatic people visiting health establishments should wear mask while waiting in triage location or during their stay in hospital. However, it is ideal to appropriately use (viz., placement, not to touch while wearing, removal of mask without touching the front, and practice hand hygiene after removal) and dispose the mask immediately after its use to ensure that the risk of transmission can be averted.[2],[3],[4]


  Conclusion Top


In the fight against COVID-19 infection, the use of masks in community, home, and health-care settings needs to be clearly defined and streamlined to promote its rational usage. These masks play an important role in reducing the risk of transmission, provided it is supplemented with other infection prevention and control measures.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Global Epidemiological Situation; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200928-weekly-epi-update.pdf?sfvrsn=9e354665_6. [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 04].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. Advice on the Use of Masks in the Context of COVID-19-Interim Guidance. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization. Rational Use of Personal Protective Equipment for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Interim Guidance. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-20.  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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