Masks With Valves Don’t Prevent Droplets From Escaping & May Harm Others Around Wearer

As mask-wearing becomes a norm in our lives, innovative minds across the world have created unique designs to inject some joy to the practice.

The most common tweak for comfort are masks with valves, which supposedly make it a lot easier for the wearer to breathe.

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However, health experts in various countries have recently come forward to say that such masks are doing more harm than good.

Masks with valves protect wearer but not others

The fact that people are wearing masks at all is a point worth commending. Amidst a global pandemic, such civic responsibility deserves appreciation.

Unfortunately, it also comes with conditions such as the right ways to wear a mask and the right types of masks to wear.

Merely covering your nose and mouth are not enough – the mask should also be free of features that could compromise safety – in this case, an air valve.

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According to health experts in countries like India, the US and Australia, such features can end up posing greater risk instead.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) for example stated on Twitter that the openings “may actually propel your germs further”.

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While the valve may filter air coming in for the wearer, the air coming out of his or her mouth and nose escape without the same filtration.

In a report by The Times of India, a health expert even adds that,

Since the exhaled air comes out of a small hole, the speed is faster, and chances of infection increase.

To put it simply, harmful droplets may not affect the wearer of a mask with valves, but if the wearer is unwell, he or she may infect others around.

Keeping in mind that we’re wearing masks not only to protect ourselves but also those around us from infections, masks with valves would thus defeat this purpose.

Stick to regular cloth or surgical masks

Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has yet to release any comments on this issue, though MS News have reached out and will update with information if we receive any.

But for the sake of safety, we’d suggest sticking to the regular surgical or cloth masks like the ones the government had distributed for free.

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Go for cute or funky prints if you want to, but avoid any functional feature adjustments for now.

Featured image adapted from Lifehacker.