WHO recommends N95 masks for people aged over 60

WHO recommends N95 masks for people aged over 60
File image of an N95 mask. PHOTO| COURTESY

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that people aged above 60 years and those with underlying health conditions wear the N95 particulate masks at all times while in public places.

According to the WHO, this is due to the lowered immunity of individuals of that age or those battling other medical conditions.

In a press briefing on Monday, Health Ministry CAS Dr. Rashid Aman pointed out that caregivers to patients under home-based healthcaree programs are also required to be wearing the N95 particulate masks when offering care to such individuals.

“The N95 is the most protective mask because of its nature and the way it is constructed and is used in those situations where that protection in necessary, therefore healthcare workers dealing with COVID-19 patients it is important for them to use those masks as well as the patients,” said Dr. Aman.

He reiterated that the general public must continue to wear the three-ply surgical masks and woven fabric masks at all times to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.

Dr. Aman, however, reiterated that individuals aged over 60 years should try as best as possible to remain at home.

The new WHO guidance recommends for the fabric masks to have at least three layers: an inner layer of an absorbent material such as cotton; a middle layer that acts like a filter or barrier, such as non-woven material polypropylene; and an outer layer of a non-absorbent material, such as polyester or polyester blend.

On Friday, the WHO called for nations to encourage the general public to wear fabric masks in areas where there continues to be intense spread of the novel coronavirus and for all health workers and caregivers to wear medical masks throughout their shift while in clinical areas.

“In areas with widespread transmission, WHO advises medical masks for all people working in clinical areas of a health facility, not only workers dealing with patients with Covid-19,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing in Geneva on Friday.

“Second, in areas with community transmission, we advise that people aged 60 years or over, or those with underlying conditions, should wear a medical mask in situations where physical distancing is not possible,” Tedros said, and third, “WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments.”

Additional reporting by CNN

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