Homemade masks harmful for use, warn medical experts

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SRINAGAR — Medical experts on Wednesday termed the use of homemade masks being prepared by tailors amid the coronavirus scare in Jammu and Kashmir as “unsafe and harmful.”

The experts claim the homemade masks made from cloth are itself infected and unsterilized, making it unsafe for use. “These masks are not medically recommended by any study as on date.”

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In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, many boutique owners and tailors individually have started to prepare masks to donate it to general public and especially the health workers to help them fight the COVID-19.

However, medical experts have strongly ruled out the use of homemade masks stating that without knowing the scientific preparation of any equipment especially face masks, how someone can offer a mask to people amid this pandemic.

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Dr. Nisar Ul Hassan, the only Flu expert in Jammu and Kashmir, who also headed the swine flu epidemic in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir, said face masks go through a scientific procedure, using mask is same as prescribing a drug/medicine to someone. “All the medical equipment go through a scientific process and only their use is recommended. Same goes for the use of face masks, they are also medically recommended.”

Dr Nisar said that as on date it has not been proven that the homemade masks will prove safe against deadly virus like COVID-19 as these masks don’t go through sterilization process the way medically recommended masks go.

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He also said that a mask should be used only for 3 to 8 hours, depending on the conditions and all the medically recommended masks have usage guidelines that how long is this effective. “Since there is given duration for the use, so it has to be discarded after the single use.”

He said that if there is a community spread of this virus, it has to be prioritized that who are the people who should use N-95 masks apart from the health workers.

“Elderly people with underlying medical conditions should use masks regularly but not those which are homemade. Homemade masks can be harmful and prove vulnerable,” he said.

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