In a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19, policies have been made all around the world for people to wear face mask as they go out in public. The Nigerian government has also made a similar declaration on the use of face mask by all citizens to curb the spread of corona virus in the country.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, in Nigeria have made a statement to enlighten the public on the use of face mask and other medical product for COVID-19. Here is what the agency wrote in their statement:
NAFDAC has the mandate to enlighten the public regarding medical products needed for the nation’s response to the COVID19 pandemic. As a result, the Agency has put in place an expedited registration pathway to allow granting of Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Masks & PPEs.
PPEs are used in different settings to provide some level of personal protection. They serve to protect the wearer as they carry out various activities. Any setting that entails some level of risk in a work environment, has a requirement for the use of PPE.
Face masks and Protective clothing are some of the examples of PPEs worn by persons to create a barrier and offer different levels of protection. This barrier reduces the spread of infectious material in the hospital and or in the community.
Types of Face Masks
There are different types of masks and protective clothing depending on the levels of exposure. The higher the risk, the higher the level of protection needed. Health care professionals by virtue of their jobs, are at highest risk.
NON-MEDICAL OR BARRIER FACE MASKS
Non-medical masks include self-made or commercial masks or face covers made of cloth, other textiles or other materials such as paper. They serve to limit spread of droplets and offer some measure of protection to those around you.
The material of construction is usually cloth (textile fabric), non-woven wadding or paper-like materials. For these Barrier Masks, 100% cotton is preferred, though polyester, linen or knit fabric can be used.
Barrier masks do not prevent you from contracting disease but, they have been found to contribute to reduce spread of infections when used widely in conjunction with other preventive measures. These face masks are recommended to be washed daily and preferably should be a double layer of fabric to increase the absorbency and effectiveness.
It must be noted that several washes, drying and stretching over time, reduces the effectiveness of the mask. Barrier masks are not intended for use in healthcare settings or by healthcare professionals
MEDICAL MASK and RESPIRATORS
- SURGICAL/MEDICAL MASK : These are fairly loose-fitting disposable masks used by medical/health personnel in health facilities. The surgical masks are made of non-woven fabric (polypropylene) consisting of multiple layers.
- RESPIRATORS : Respirators which are also called N95, N98 or KN95 respirator masks, are designed to protect the wearer from small (0.3 micron) particles in the air, such as viruses, which the regular surgical masks do not protect against.