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  • The Medical City And Makati Med Prohibit Masks With Valves In Their Premises

    It might look cool but it will only protect you.
    by Kitty Elicay .
The Medical City And Makati Med Prohibit Masks With Valves In Their Premises
PHOTO BY iStock
  • This story was updated on July 18, 2020, at 10:30 a.m.

    Wearing protective gear like face masks has become essential when going out in the new normal. Several brands have turned it into chic accessories and people are on the hunt for the cutest and most comfortable masks that they can wear. However, a Philippine hospital is cautioning against wearing a particular type: face masks with valves.

     A memo circulating online from the Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed) advises against the use of respirators or masks with exhalation valves as it “allows unfiltered exhaled air to escape when breathed out.” This means that any person who is in close contact with an individual with respiratory symptoms are “at risk of being exposed to potentially infective respiratory droplets.

    SmartParenting.com.ph has verified the memo’s authenticity through the official Facebook page of MakatiMed, who replied in a message that the memo came from the Office of the Medical Director.

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    “[A] face mask helps prevent respiratory droplets and splashes from being sprayed into the air when you talk, breathe, cough or sneeze. However, using a mask incorrectly may hamper its effectiveness to reduce the risk of transmission,” the memo reads.

     

    The memo said said masks were not allowed anymore in Makati Med, and visitors wearing one will be asked to replace the it with surgical masks.
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    On July 16, The Medical City also came out with a similar memo on masks with exhalation valves. On its Facebook, the hospital said “While masks with valves are designed to ease exhalation and decrease humidity for the wearer, they do not block transmission of COVID-19 because they allow exhaled air and droplets to escape.

    “Starting today, all locations of The Medical City Clinic will not allow patients and companions wearing masks with valves to enter clinic premises.”

     

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    These types of face masks are popular because it allows the wearer to breathe easier. It also reduces the risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles, including infectious agents, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    But according to experts interviewed by Huffpost, the one-way valve closes when a person breathes in and then opens when they breathe out. It protects the wearer by keeping germs out, but it allows a person’s exhalations to leave the mask. Simply put, this type of face mask does not protect others nor does it slow the spread of COVID-19.

     A study published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology found that the use of masks with valves in a community “may be an additional and under-recognized transmission source.” Thus, using it should be avoided.

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    According to MakatiMed's memo, those wearings masks with exhalation valves and vents will not be allowed in the hospital “to protect the safety of patients, staff, and visitors.” Instead, they will be asked to replace their mask with a surgical mask.

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    Keep in mind that medical masks are on global shortage, so if you need to go out, you can always use cloth face coverings. This can reduce the spread of COVID-19 — by preventing people with COVID-19 or those who are asymptomatic from transferring the virus to others — especially when social distancing measures are hard to maintain, according to the CDC.

    Don’t know which type of face mask to get? Click here for an abaca face mask that is said to be seven times better than your typical cloth face mask, here for the best materials to use, and here for the steps on how to create your own face mask.

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