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Why Masks with exhalation valves are not helpful during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Mask valves are masks with exhalation valves in them.

The COVID-19 pandemic made it mandatory for everyone to wear face masks out in public. Along with social (physical) distancing, wearing face masks will help protect you from getting the virus and help stop its spread altogether. 

Because of this, different kinds of face masks have emerged. Disposable surgical masks, cloth masks, and N95 respirators masks are some of the face masks available in preventing the spread of COVID-19 — except one. Masks with filter valves in particular, may not be helpful during this pandemic. 

Masks with a plastic piece have a one-way filter function: inhaled air is filtered, exhaled air is unfiltered. When you inhale, the valve closes. Meaning, pathogens and other particles can’t get in. But every time you exhale, the valve opens, releasing particles you breath out (including a possible virus).

So what does using mask valves mean for our public health during the pandemic? 

It means that using masks with exhalation valves during the pandemic don’t help in the fight against COVID-19. Yes, you are protecting yourself from pathogens coming in the mask, but you can’t protect everyone else. If you are unknowingly carrying the virus, mask valves easily release it as you exhale.

Tandaan, hindi natin nasisigurong hindi natin dala ang virus. Gumagamit tayo ng face mask upang hindi maikalat ito.

Wearing a face mask during the pandemic is not just about protecting yourself but stopping the spread of the virus as well. So it’s best to steer clear of wearing mask valves and stick with wearing surgical masks or cloth masks. 

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