What is a mask valve, and why are cities banning them?
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It’s now mandatory to wear a mask in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That mask could be anything from a handkerchief to a designer cotton mask to a full-blown N95 respirator.

But in California’s Bay Area, there’s a new stipulation: You can wear any style of mask you want, so long as it doesn’t have a valve in it.

WHAT IS A MASK VALVE?
A little plastic piece embedded in the fabric: a one-way valve. Closes when you breathe in, so pathogens can’t get in through it. When you breathe out, this valve opens, creating a doorway for your exhalation to leave the mask.

WHY DO PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICIALS CARE?
When you wear a mask with a valve, a significant portion of your exhalations is entirely unfiltered. A normal cotton mask is far from perfect at capturing virus particles that you might inhale or exhale. But when you add the valve, you aren’t even filtering your breath with cotton. Your mouth is essentially an open exhaust.

WHEN HOSPITALS ADOPTED N95 RESPIRATORS, DID THOSE VERSIONS HAVE VALVES?

No. N95s were historically used in factories, but in the 1990s, with the rise of AIDS and a related outbreak of tuberculosis, doctors were looking for a new level of airborne protection, since tuberculosis is highly contagious through the air. That’s when the medical community bought into N95s and created its own standards for these respirators. The big difference? The medical community mandated no valves, so healthcare workers didn’t get the people around them sick.

To this day, the CDC recommends hospitals not use N95s with valves.

SO IS IT OK TO WEAR MY MASK WITH A VALVE IF IT’S LEGAL IN MY AREA?

Not really! Yes, if you have a mask with a valve, you are protecting yourself as well as you would be if you wore a mask without a valve. There’s no difference in personal protection according to anything published in the CDC or elsewhere.

But if you have a mask with a valve, you’re not really protecting those around you, which is at least half of the point of wearing a cotton mask in the first place.

Your mask should treat filtering as a two-way street.

Note: The article is written by Mark Wilson, a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/90496717/what-is-a-mask-valve-and-why-are-cities-banning-them
Dr. T●●●●z H●●●●●●i and 14 others like this19 shares
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R●●●i S. Y●●●v
R●●●i S. Y●●●v General Medicine
So what should we recommend pepole to use ? What should be more effective, like if in terms of personal safety N95 is the best option we have but it is not preventing the spread as it couldn' t filter the exhausted air . So, is the surgical or cotton mask is the only choice we lest with ?
Jul 19, 2020Like
N●●a R●●●●●r
N●●a R●●●●●r General Management
Hi Dr Ruchi, Today only Indian Health Ministry has issued warning against the use of valved N95 masks, as these do not prevent the virus from escaping out of the mask. And encouraged the use of homemade cloth masks. Read more at https://www.plexusmd.com/md/post?pfpid=56405
Jul 21, 2020Like1
C●●●l P●●●●●●●●n
C●●●l P●●●●●●●●n General Medicine
There are N95 masks without the valves available in the market. Those should be our masks of choice?
Jul 26, 2020Like