“Face masks made of clothes don’t prevent you from contracting disease, they only reduce spread of infection” – NAFDAC

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said the use of non-medical face masks, which include self-made or commercial masks or face covers made of clothes, only reduce and not prevent spread of diseases.

The agency in a statement released today said face masks made with cotton materials are more effective. The statement in part reads

Non-medical face masks include self-made or commercial masks or face covers made of cloth, other textiles or other materials such as paper. They are not standardized and are not intended for use in healthcare settings or by healthcare professionals.

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They serve to limit spread of droplets and offer some measure of protection to those around you.

The material of construction is usually cloth(textile fabric), non-woven wadding, or paper-like materials. For these Barrier Masks, 100% cotton is preferred though, polyester, linen or knit fabric can be used.

Simple test: If wearer can put off a flame from a cigarette lighter that is placed in front of the wearer, the mask is protective enough

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Barrier face masks do not prevent you from contracting disease but, they have been found to contribute to reduce spread of infections when used widely in conjunction with other measures. Such measures include social distancing, not touching the face, eyes or mouth, washing of hands with soap for 20 secs or use of alcohol based hand sanitizers.

These face masks are recommended to be washed daily and preferably should be a double layer of fabric to increase the absorbency and effectiveness.

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It must be noted that several washes, drying and stretching of the mask over time reduce the effectiveness of the mask.” the statement read

The agency came out with the clarification as different state governments and the Federal government have announced compulsory use of face mask as the nation continues to fight against the spread of COVID-19.

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