IDAAM Publications

Volume 1

January-March 2023

Mask in COVID-19: A review

Vyankatesh D Shedge, Jameel Ahmed S Mulla

N-95 masks undoubtedly provide the most effective protection against minute particulates including the novel corona virus, but due to the extreme shortage of supply it’s reserved for the front-line health care personals. Surgical masks can filter large droplets and big particulate mattes but still it’s not advisable for use to the common public, in such a scenario wearing a universal cloth face mask in combination with meticulous hand hygiene and social distancing can provide a complementary protection and can significantly block the spread of infection. Face mask wearing can block or filter airborne virus-carrying particles through the working of colloid and interface science. This paper assesses current knowledge behind the design and functioning of face masks by reviewing the selection of materials, mask specifications, relevant laboratory tests, and respiratory virus transmission trials, with an overview of future development of reusable masks for the general public. This review highlights the effectiveness of face mask wearing in the prevention of COVID-19 infection. Wearing medical masks when not indicated may cause unnecessary cost, procurement burden and create a false sense of security that can lead to neglecting other essential measures such as hand hygiene. Furthermore, using mask incorrectly may hamper its effectiveness to reduce the risk of transmission. Masks are part of a comprehensive package of measures to suppress transmission and save lives: the use of a mask alone is insufficient to provide an adequate level of protection. In areas in widespread transmission, where physical distancing of at least 1 meter cannot be achieved, fabric masks should be considered for use in public settings, such as public buses and trains, shops, grocery stores and workplaces.
Keywords: COVID-19, Face Mask, N-95 masks, Disposal of Masks.