As Lagos State Government commenced enforcement of compulsory use of face masks, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has warned that several washes, drying and stretching of the fabric mask over time reduce its effectiveness even as it noted that non-medical face masks cannot prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Stating this a press statement issued in Lagos, the Director-General of NAFDAC, Professor Christianah Adeyeye, explained that non-medical face masks which include self-made or commercial masks or face covers made of clothes, other textiles or other materials such as paper were not standardised and are not intended for use in healthcare settings or by healthcare professionals.
She added that such masks only limit the spread of droplets and when over washed loses their effectiveness.
“It must be noted that several washes, drying, and stretching of the mask over time reduce the effectiveness of the mask.”
Stating that the fabric mask was among the barrier face masks, she declared that fabric masks do not prevent individuals from contracting the disease but, they have been found to contribute to reducing the spread of infections when used widely in conjunction with other measures.
“Non-medical face masks include self-made or commercial masks or face covers made of clothes, other textiles or other materials such as paper. They are not standardised and are not intended for use in healthcare settings or by healthcare professionals. They serve to limit the spread of droplets and offer some measure of protection to those around you.”
The material of construction is usually clothes (textile fabric), non-woven wadding, or paper-like materials. For these Barrier Masks, 100 per cent cotton is preferred though; polyester, linen, or knit fabric can be used.
She said the fabric masks should be used alongside measures such as social distancing, not touching the face, eyes or mouth, and washing of hands with soap for 20 seconds or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
She advised Nigerians using such face masks recommended to be washed daily to ensure that it has a double layer of fabric to guarantee the absorbency and its effectiveness.
She further warned that barrier masks are not intended for use in healthcare settings or by healthcare professionals