Why the Health Ministry Warns Against Use of Face Masks With a Valve

Ok, so we all recognise that wearing a face mask helps reduce COVID-19 transmission. But masks with exhalation valves aren't a great choice, as per the Health Ministry. We explain why.

The new coronavirus spreads via respiratory droplets. People carrying the COVID-19 infection may spread these droplets when they cough, sneeze, sing, or talk. These respiratory droplets can then reach someone else's eyes, mouth, or nose directly or indirectly - finally making their way to one's lungs and infecting them. A face mask, when worn correctly, catches the respiratory droplets and prevents others from getting infected.

Since asymptomatic carriers may unknowingly spread the virus, wearing a mask in public helps in preventing such transmission. However, prolonged usage of a mask, in hot and humid conditions, can be quite uncomfortable. Hence, a lot of people opt for face masks with an exhalation valve. The exhalation valve allows for quick dissipation of heat and improves breathability.

The problem with these masks though is that the exhaled air is expelled unfiltered through the holes in the valve. And this air would carry the wearer’s respiratory droplets which may reach others and potentially spread the COVID-19 virus. Hence, the health ministry does not recommend using masks if they have an exhalation valve or vent.

It makes sense, then, to look at the many reusable fabric masks available now. Masks made from multiple layers of material that fit snugly on the face are effective options. In fact, a recent study found that masks made with multiple layers of cotton and/or polypropylene, are the most effective options after N95 masks and surgical masks.

We invite you to look at Hyjiva's Reusable Unisex Face Masks - which are available in 8 different colours. They have no exhalation valves yet meet the gold standard of breathability. You can purchase them from the Hyjiva store or Amazon or Flipkart.