DOH does not recommend face masks with gaps, holes | Inquirer News
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DOH does not recommend face masks with gaps, holes

/ 06:43 PM March 08, 2021
Tricycle driver face shield

Tricycle driver Nestor Lazaro wears his own creations: a face mask that is actually a Styropor container and a face shield fashioned from a water container. The 53-year-old says his improvised shields are easier to breathe through as he waits for passengers outside a hospital in Manila. RICHARD A. REYES / INQUIRER

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday that it does not recommend face masks with holes or gaps where coronavirus droplets may pass through.

Dr. Rodley Carza, head of the DOH’s Policy and Technology Division, said the health department is advising the public to wear face masks that are “properly fitted” on their face.

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“Tayo sa DOH we don’t recommend masks that have gaps sa gilid ng mask, sa taas o sa ilalim (We in the DOH do not recommend masks that have gaps). We are aware that the copper mask has a slit or butas sa ilalim ng baba (or hole at the bottom) so it might not be that good of a mask for COVID-19 prevention,” he said in an online press briefing.

“So we highly recommend that we use a mask that is properly fitted sa inyong mukha at wala pong gaps in between ‘yung nose, dito sa gilid ng mukha at sa ilalim po ng ating baba,” he added.

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(So we highly recommend that we use a mask that is properly fitted in the face and does not have gaps in between the nose, the side of the face, and below the chin.)

Sellers of the CopperMask, who advertise the product as offering “protection with style,” said it is “made of an antimicrobial film with millions of infused copper strands.”

The issue on CopperMask was first brought to light after the Makati Medical Center posted an advisory in January that it recommends the use of face masks without valves, slits, or holes while inside the hospital.

The DOH later confirmed in a statement that month that the CopperMask is not medical grade.

“Nevertheless, considering that it is still a face mask, it can still prevent the spread of COVID-19 mainly by acting as a physical barrier for droplets when a person emits droplets,” it added.

Also in January, the Philippine College of Physicians said that “face masks should cover your face from the bridge of your nose to under the chin.”

“Masks with vents or exhalation valves are not advised because they allow the unfiltered breath to escape,” it added.

In February, CopperMask released a “new and improved version” of the product with “five new non-woven filters that will cover the air channeling part of the CopperMask film.”

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