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In Brief

Don't wear masks with valves, CDC says

People should wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but not those with exhalation valves or vents, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Masks with these one-way valves are intended for use in construction work, allowing users to breathe in filtered air and exhale warm, moist air through the valve, according to The Washington Post. These valves reduce heat and moisture inside masks, making them more comfortable to wear for long periods.

But this design doesn't prevent the spread of infectious diseases. The main reason for wearing masks in the COVID-19 era is to prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air when a person coughs, sneezes or talks, the CDC says. But when a mask has a valve, respiratory droplets from the wearer are expelled into the air and could reach other people.

"This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others," the CDC says on its website

Many airlines have already banned customers from wearing masks with valves on flights, the Post reported. American Airlines is the latest airline to announce a ban, which takes effect on Aug. 19, according to a statement from the airline issued Wednesday (Aug. 12).

The CDC does recommend wearing cloth masks when in public, and notes that surgical and N95 masks should be reserved for health care workers and first responders.

Originally published on Live Science.  

  • jbundy48
    I agree that N95 masks need to be preserved for medical personnel, but I did order a set of KN95 masks from China, and they have finally arrived after ordering a month ago. Look, my wife and I both older and have serious underlying conditions and know that exposure to the virus would most likely kill us, and so I wasn't about to fool around with using our cloth masks anymore.
    Reply
  • Dwayne
    There's a simple, cheap solution that would reduce the spread of coronavirus more than banning N95 masks - wear a surgical mask over the N95 mask. Why? N95 masks are designed to protect the wearer from other people. Surgical masks primarily protect other people from the wearer. Both of these are good things. What's the benefit of preventing people from stopping the spread of the virus in both directions? Everyone who has an N95 mask will have to come up with a replacement like a surgical mask or a cloth mask (so we're not talking about people who can't get their hands on both). The air can be filtered in both directions, but this ban limits it to one direction. The CDC needs to rethink their recommendation here.
    Reply
  • kevin75025
    tape the valve shut
    Reply
  • ZipFile
    admin said:
    Masks with these one-way valves expel respiratory droplets from the wearer into the air.

    Don't wear masks with valves, CDC says : Read more
    So why did the CDC approve their creation and production???????????????????????????????
    Reply
  • norreber
    I wear 2 masks when I am out of my home. Each has a filter in it, and my oxygen level is always between 97-99%. I have a mask that has a vent, I don't wear it, it has a cage to keep the mask away from the face. I have a filter in it also, if I do wear it it will filter the air or breath I exhale. The filter is a blue disposable mask I cut down to fit. I've seen reports that the blue masks are pretty much as good as an N-95 mask. At work I wear a regular cloth mask the company gave out, we can make sure anyone coming into the warehouse/office wears a mask. When I go home where I live very few wear masks so I try to protect myself by wearing 2 masks. The only way things are going to get back to normal is to wear masks and stop the spread. IF you do wear a mask with a valve, put a filter in it. I buy most of mine from a Chinese site, but Amazon has them. (I did watch a video the other day a doctor put on 6 masks, he had a pulse oximeter on his finger and on the monitor was showing in oxygen level. 6 masks and he stayed at 98%)
    Reply
  • xrayangiodoc
    If I were to fly, I would wear my valved N95 mask underneath a cloth mask. The N05 masked was fitted to my when I was on the medical staff at a hospital and I was scheduled to do a procedure on a patient with active tuberculosis. I know it provides me with superior protection and when, combined with a cloth mask, will provide protection to those around me.
    Reply
  • ZipFile
    xrayangiodoc said:
    If I were to fly, I would wear my valved N95 mask underneath a cloth mask. The N05 masked was fitted to my when I was on the medical staff at a hospital and I was scheduled to do a procedure on a patient with active tuberculosis. I know it provides me with superior protection and when, combined with a cloth mask, will provide protection to those around me.
    I would wear nothing, I would tell the stewardess that I had covid and that the FDA wants my plasma to make a vaccine

    True story
    Reply
  • jtwine
    What is surprising is that the information from the CDC is so readily being mindlessly repeated (especially by a publication that has "Science" in its title) and is being used to set policy without fully understanding that the CDC's recommendation against valved masks was a general one, and does not apply to all masks that have valves present on them. Unfortunately, with everyone taking the recommendation as gospel and repeating it without question or research, the misinformation spreads quickly and gets reinforced each time it appears in a different place.

    Some masks with replaceable N95/PM2.5 filters have valves that do not go through the filter media. Read that again. The valve is placed after the filter media pocket so that both inhaled and exhaled air go through the filter media. This kind of mask offers enhanced protection (due to the filter media) for both the wearer AND others around the wearer. By forcing someone to remove an higher-quality mask with filter media, and then don a a plain old cloth mask, you are reducing the level or protection for both the wearer and others around them. Does that sound like a good idea to you? I would hope not.

    An easy way to tell if you have "bad" mask. Open the mask up and look inside it. If you can clearly see the valve, then it is a "bad" mask. But if he valve is behind other mask layers, or behind the filter, you have the kind of mask that offers better protection for everyone, and is NOT what the CDC was recommending against.

    With that in mind, if this topic ever comes up again, please be so kind as to research things a little bit before just repeating them as fact.
    Reply