People who have been washing their disposable surgical nose masks have been advised to stop as they may be putting themselves at risk of contracting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
According to Dr Kpienaan Anakin Jeremiah, a clinical pharmacist at the Koforidua Central Hospital, some people were still washing their disposable masks even though prices have been reduced and blamed the situation on the fact that some people could still not afford it.
In an exclusive interview with the Ghanaian Times, he explained that these people, especially traders, truck pushers and those who did menial jobs to survive, were putting themselves and anybody around them at risk of contracting COVID-19, as the efficacy of the disposable mask would be reduced after it has been washed.
“The disposable nose mask should not be washed at all and that is why it is called disposable and you have to discard it after you are done using it,” he stated and stressed the need for education for such people.
Dr Jeremiah further explained that “ the nose mask has tiny pores or holes in it that cannot be seen with the naked eye and when it is washed, the holes are opened and the architecture of nose mask is altered, hence it can allow major organisms or the virus to penetrate through.”
He stated that people who wear washed disposable nose masks have a higher chance of contracting the virus, adding that they are just at risk as someone who is not wearing one at all.
Dr Jeremiah called on stakeholders to take the issue seriously, adding that it would be suicidal for the country if such issues were not discussed and addressed.
“Let us educate people on this issue so that we prevent people from being infected and infecting others.”
Dr Jeremiah however stated that a three ply cloth facemask as recommended by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) was a best option to these washed disposable nose masks.
“The cloth is washable and a better option to those who cannot afford it,” he advised.
He asked people who engage in such act to refrain from it as they would put themselves at risk and all those who come into contact with them, adding that it can aid the spread of the virus.
Dr Francis Wuobar, a Member of the COVID-19 team in the Eastern Region and an obstetrician gynaecologist at Koforidua Central Hospital, for his part also stated that the disposable nose mask should not be washed at all as the effectiveness of the filter would be lost after washing.
He said the disposable nose mask can be changed after two to three uses.
FROM AMA TEKYIWAA AMPADU AGYEMAN, KOFORIDUA