Doctor Says Healthy People May Use Cloth Face Masks



Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • TEMPO.CO, JakartaErlina Burhan, a lung specialist doctor or pulmonologist from Persahabatan Hospital, said that people with no health problems could use face masks made from cloth during the coronavirus outbreak.

    “It [cloth mask] can be used by healthy persons in public spaces, but keep a distance of 1-2 meters from others,” said Erlina during a press conference on Wednesday, April 1.

    Erlina explained that face coverings made from cotton could be the last choice for the public if there were no more surgical masks to prevent virus transmission. However, such masks were not recommended for medical personnel, she underlined.

    “Because 40-90 percent of particles can penetrate.”

    According to her, cloth masks can protect the wearers from big droplets expelled due to talking, coughing, and sneezing. It is effective to filter 10 to 60 percent of 3-micron particles. “But it cannot filter smaller microns of droplets,” she added.

    For the advantage side, cloth masks are reusable. To kill viruses, Erlina suggested the masks to be washed with detergent and warm water.

    Referring to research in Britain, specialized surgical face masks are three times more effective at filtering particles than homemade cloth masks. However, Erlina reminded that they are prioritized for medical workers and sick people or those healthy people who treat sick people.

    “Do not panic buy [surgical masks],” Erlina underlined.