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Most people do not know how to wear medical respirators - findings of scientists from Singapore
According to the National University Hospital in Singapore, people far from medicine cannot put on a respirator correctly even with instructions.
Scientists have published a letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association, sharing the results of a 2015 study following severe smog in Singapore. The smoke from forest fires in Indonesia posed a serious threat to the lives of citizens, and there was an acute shortage of protective masks in pharmacies. A year later, in order to prevent a new catastrophe, the Singapore authorities distributed respirators No. 95 to all citizens. Since these protective devices are intended exclusively for medical professionals, scientists wondered how suitable they are for widespread use.
The study involved 714 men and women who were given N95 respirators with detailed, illustrated instructions and asked to wear them. Only 90 people were able to put on the mask correctly. The rest made mistakes that somehow reduce the protective properties of the respirator: 61% left a visible gap between the mask and the skin, and about 60% did not tighten the nose clip.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the N95 respirator has become a very popular personal protective equipment in many countries around the world, offered by pharmacies and online stores. Scientists from Singapore point out that these protective equipment are for medical use only, and most people do not have special knowledge of how to use them correctly. They also called on the authorities and respirator manufacturers to go beyond instructions but to release detailed videos.
Earlier in an interview with MedPortal, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor at the GMU School of Systems Biology Ancha Baranova also warned that medical respirators are not suitable for people without special knowledge and skills. Therefore, there is a risk of wearing a mask incorrectly and not even guessing about it. The expert recommended that people far from medicine use a mask-screen that fits tightly around the face.