Usage of N95 Respirators and Masks to Prevent Swineflu Infection

As the swineflu pandemic broke out, people are very concerned about taking precautions. Many of the schools have already declared holidays amid quarterly exams due to the fear of spreading the pandemic.

However, many people who are concerned about getting infected but cannot afford to stay back at home, are roaming out in masks or hankies, covering their nose and mouth. However, many of them are using some disposable surgical masks which are not effective against the virus. Doctors say that hankies soaked in dettol, are more effective than ordinary face masks.

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There are two types of masks which are recommended by the Health Ministry, India for various categories of personnel depending upon the work environment

  1. Triple layer surgical mask
  2. N 95 Respirator mask

A recent study said that, the N95 masks provide 75% protection against the swineflu virus.

Who are recommended to use Triple layer surgical mask?

  1. All medical personnel including nursing, paramedical, mortuary and ambulance staff.
  2. All medical personnel including nursing and paramedical staff screening passengers at the Airports/Sea Ports/ International checkpoints.
  3. Doctors in screening centres/Private practitioners attending Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) in general practice and other health workers assisting them.
  4. Security personnel working in an infected/ potentially infected area.
  5. Suspect/ probable/confirmed cases of influenza A H1N1.

Erroneous use of masks or continuous use of a disposable mask for longer than 6 hours or repeated use of same mask may actually increase risk of infection further. Thus, general public who are using these masks shouldn’t use them without medical supervisory.

Courtesy: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India.

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