FDA warns public on use of masks with valves vs COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines —The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Saturday urged the public not to use masks with valves as protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
FDA Director-General Eric Domingo, in an interview over radio station DZBB, said that such masks are not registered for medical purposes.
“Hindi sila mga medical and/or surgical masks, kundi ay mga industrial masks. ‘Yan po ang ginagamit ng mga karpintero o ng mga naga-grinding,” he said. “So ang talagang intensyon niyan ay hindi makapasok ‘yung alikabok sa ihihinga ng tao.”
(These are not medical and/or surgical masks, but are industrial masks. These are being used by carpenters or those who do grinding. So its intention is for dust not to be inhaled by the person.)
People who wear masks with valves, Domingo said, only provide “one-way protection.”
“Halimbawa kung ikaw ay may sakit at suot-suot mo [yung may valve], maaring lumabas po ‘yung hininga niyo doon sa valve. Kung infection control ang pag-usapan, yung mga [masks with valves] ay hindi po para doon,” he said.
(For example, if you wear a mask with valves, your breath will exit through the valves. When it comes to infection control, these kinds of masks are not advisable.)
“Ang proteksyon niya one-way, eh ang gusto natin ang proteksyon ng mask ay two-way. Kung tayo ay walang sakit hindi tayo mahahawa, kung tayo ay may sakit hindi tayo manghahawa,” Domingo added.
(Its protection is only one way; what we want is a two-way mask. If we are not sick, we won’t be infected, but if we are sick, we will not be infecting others.)
Domingo said that it is still best that the public makes use of medical or surgical masks. Cloth masks will also suffice.
“Sa mga ospital o sa mga naga-alaga ng may sakit, gusto po talaga natin medical or surgical use na mga masks. Pero kung everyday use, kahit naman po mga cloth masks. Mas safe pa po ang mga regular masks na walang valve,” he said.
(For hospital and those who treat patients, it is best advised to use medical or surgical masks. But for everyday use, cloth masks would also suffice. Regular masks with no valves are safer to use.)
The FDA chief added that the agency has advised hospitals to prohibit the entry of persons wearing masks with valves.
Some hospitals, such as the Medical City Clinic, have released advisories barring people wearing masks with exhaust valves from entering its premises.
To date, the Philippines has 63,001 COVID-19 cases, with 21,748 recoveries and 1,660 deaths.
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