Masks, WHO changes its mind: the new guidelines

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For months, the World Health Organization had not been particularly unbalanced in recommending the systematic use of masks even to healthy and non-at risk individuals to contain the Covid-19 infection. On the contrary: the WHO had repeatedly reminded that, alone, that device it is not enough to protect yourself infection. Wearing the mask, the Organization has repeatedly stressed, can induce a false sense of security, and in addition reduce the number of personal protective equipment available to healthcare professionals.

In these hours, however, the WHO has issued updated guidelines on the use of templates (here the pdf to download), implicitly admitting the crucial role that these devices can play in preventing infection, together with hygiene measures and social distancing. The masks, the document writes, “provide one droplet barrier potentially infectious. ”

Where to take them

The Organization has relied on new evidence and evidence collected in recent months on the transmission of the infections, and has therefore decided to expand indications on the use of the devices with respect to the previously disclosed criteria. WHO specifically recommended the use of masks even outdoors in crowded places is in public places where social distancing cannot be observed, such as:

  • public transport,
  • stores,
  • jobs,
  • the schools,
  • places of worship.

Which to use and for which categories

The document recommends to people over 60 or with previous pathologies to use surgical or filtering masks; the others, however, will be able to use cloth masks generic triple layer also self-produced. In this case, a layer of absorbent cotton near the face, one of polypropylene and one waterproof synthetic exterior should be used.

The advantages of using masks in public

From the observations of these months, WHO has verified some advantages in the use of masks in public by healthy subjects:

  • reduces possible exposure to the virus in the presence of infected people before they develop symptoms;
  • reduces the potential stigmatization of other people who wear masks to protect others, or of people who care for Covid patients in non-clinical settings;
  • causes people to feel they can play a role in helping to stop the infection;
  • remind people to respect other hygiene measures.

The disadvantages

At the same time, WHO also listed one set of disadvantages in the use of masks in public, including:

  • increased potential risk of self-contamination due to incorrect handling of the mask;
  • potential risk of self-contamination if non-medical masks are not changed when they are wet or dirty;
  • possible onset of headache or breathing difficulties;
  • possible development of lesions, dermatitis or worsening of acne on the face;
  • difficulty communicating clearly;
  • inconvenience;
  • false sense of security and consequent underestimation of other hygiene measures or social distancing.

Precautions to be taken

As regards the recommendations on how to use it masks, the document reminds you to take the following measures:

  • wash your hands before putting on the device;
  • wear the mask carefully to cover the nose and mouth and make sure it adheres to the face;
  • avoid touching it while wearing it;
  • remove it without touching the external part;
  • after removal, wash your hands with sanitizer or soap;
  • change the mask as soon as it becomes wet;
  • do not reuse disposable masks;
  • properly dispose of the disposable masks used.



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