Face masks are really important nowadays because they can protect you from other people infected with COVID-19, the virus that causes the ongoing global pandemic. However, WHO warns that the public that the face covering's efficiency can be comprised during wet weather.
The World Health Organization and other scientists claim that face masks can become less effective when worn in the rain. The agency and several experts said that people must replace their face coverings if they become wet.
WHO also urged government officials to provide the public with "clear advice" about wearing face masks when going out during rainy weather.
"It would now be useful if clear advice were issued to the public," said Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London.
"Masks need to be changed regularly, and this is particularly important to understand in damp and wet weather," he added.
Aseem Malhotra, a consultant cardiologist, explained that face masks would surely get damp if people go out in public during bad weather. He added no public campaign currently to inform people that their masks can become ineffective during rainy days.
DHSC's official guidance
The Department of Health and Social Care's official guidance states that people should change their face mask if they've touched it or if it becomes wet.
Face coverings are mandatory in most indoor spaces.
Make sure to:
fully cover your nose and mouth
don't touch the front of it
See the guidance on face coverings
️ https://t.co/t0F3RwqNyg#WearAMask pic.twitter.com/bX4Dai4PUU — Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) October 5, 2020
WHO also provided similar advice, explaining that moisture can compromise the fabric face mask, even if it consists of at least three layers of different materials.
The agency explained even N-95, the mask considered among some of the most effective in preventing the virus, can also be compromised. This can happen because the non-woven fabric used in the mask is not designed to repel water, which means that any moisture can restrict efficient and safe filtering.
WHO added that any masks should have appropriate use and disposal to ensure their effectiveness and avoid any increase in COVID-19 transmission.
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Written by: Giuliano de Leon.