CHENNAI: On Tuesday, Beela Rajesh clarified that not all of us need hospital-grade masks. While elderly people and those with conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes have been advised to use triple-layered masks, others can use cloth to cover their face and nose, she said. Experts, however, say that if you are using cloth, it’s better not to use cotton fabric.
As cotton fabrics tend to be porous, it cannot prevent droplet transmission, says doctor S Ezhilarasi, former director of the Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children (ICH). “Public must also understand that N95 masks are meant only for healthcare workers,” she said. Thicker material or multiple layers might prove to be much more effective, add experts.
The size of a virus is around 60-140nm in diameter. It’s so small that they can easily travel through the pores on cotton and similar fabric. Even the WHO guidelines say that masks made of cotton or gauze are not recommended under any circumstances. “They give only a false sense of protectiveness.”
Similarly, these masks do not serve the purpose if they are not washed after every use, says Dr Hari Haran, chief of general medicine at Stanley Medical College and Hospital. “Any mask can only be worn for a maximum of one day without washing. After every use, they must be washed in hot water and dried directly under the sun before next use,” he said.
Corpn to crack whip
Those who fail to wear masks when stepping out would be punished, said the corporation on Wednesday. Their vehicles will be seized and licence would be suspended for six months. Pedestrians would have to pay a `100 fine