WHO Just Changed Its Guidance on Wearing Face Masks - What Does This Mean for You?
Earlier on April 6, 2020, when the rate of COVID19 pandemic was still on the rising in many nations of the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave comprehensive but interim guidance on the conduct of people around the globe. The major crux of the matter was the advice on the use of masks as it affects both individuals and health workers on the frontlines. However, following that release, there is a recent update published on June 5 on the development of the situation.
On a broader note, some of the differences between the two sets of the release include:
- A piece of updated information on symptomatic, asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic people with COVID19
- New rules on continuous use of face masks by all workers in a health facility
- New updates and guidance on the use of medical and non-medical masks by the general public
- Composition and characteristics of the non-medical mask
Now, some of the earlier guidelines have been modified, while others remain the same. For instance,
- The use of face masks in public remains unnegotiable if anyone must go out. Any confirmed case is advised to stay in isolation in a designated health facility while keeping their contacts in quarantine
- Home caregivers should protect themselves with face masks to limit the possibility of transmission of the virus
- All medical workers should use the full Personal Protective Equipment including face masks or respirators, goggles, gloves, coat, and others especially when caring for the COVID19 patient
However, some of the modified guidelines include the following;
- All health workers should wear a protective medical mask, not just those dealing directly with patients. By implication, all departments in a medical facility should have workers wear medical masks, even if they deal with unrelated patients.
- If social distancing proves difficult, all aged people above 60 years and those who have underlying medical issues should wear a medical mask.
- The details of the appropriate mask would be that which is made of at least three layers of different materials. The innermost layer must have an adsorbent material such as cotton, and the middle layer must be a filter material like polypropylene. But the last outermost layer can be made of a non-absorbent material like polyester or its blend.
So, what do all these guidelines mean to you? As a medical worker, you can only use the recommended P2 face mask in Australia. Whereas, as a non-medical worker, a non-medical mask will suffice, only that it must have the same quality and properties as stated in the comprehensive guidelines.
Now, everyone must know which category they belong, and the kind of mask they should use, medical or non-medical. In addition to the use of masks, other precautionary measures should be retained to achieve a reduction in the spread of COVID19 disease. Also, the WHO guideline demands to help keep everyone safe and secure in these trying times.