Who should wear surgical masks? WHO answers
MANILA, Philippines — Amid the rising demand for surgical facemasks and n95 masks in the face of the novel coronavirus or 2019 nCoV scare, an official from the World Health Organization (WHO) puts the record straight on who should use them.
Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, Officer-in-Charge and Acting WHO Representative in the Philippines, on Tuesday reminded Filipinos that not all are required to use a surgical mask or n95 mask at this time.
In a press conference at the Department of Health, Abeyasinghe said those mandated to wear surgical masks are those who have “signs or symptoms of respiratory infection,” or those who will take care of persons under investigation (PUIs) to determine if they are infected with the novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.
Abeyasinghe said an individual can also “wear surgical masks or n95 masks when visiting a patient at a health care facility where there are patients who have respiratory infections.”
He also noted that masks can also be worn when visiting crowded places, like wet markets.
“If you are visiting somebody in a health care facility where there is a concentration of people with respiratory infections, or you are visiting crowded places or wet markets, you need a mask,” he said.
However, Abeyasinghe said that “normal people going about normal work don’t need to wear surgical masks or n95 masks.”
But Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reminded the public that wearing n95 masks and gloves are necessary for those who are “taking care of sick people.”
Health experts said that those with symptoms of flu and colds should use masks, with the white side, or the absorbent side, facing the mouth and nose of the wearer. This is to prevent the sick person from spreading germs and virus to others.
On the other hand, if the wearer is not sick, the white side should be facing outside to prevent them from coming in contact with micro-organisms.
Recent records from the DOH showed that around 24 persons are under investigation for the 2019-nCoV.
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