To Mask or Not To Mask? A Review of Literature

Authors

1 Anesthesiologist, Department of Anesthesia, Faculty of Medicine, North Khorasan University of Medical Sciences, Shirvan, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor of Reproductive Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.

3 Pediatric Neurologist, Department of Pediatric, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

4 Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

5 Student Research Committee, School Of Nursing and Midwifery, Sirjan University of Medical Sciences, Sirjan, Iran.

6 Student Research Committee, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.

7 Anesthesiologist, Department of Anesthesia, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

10.22034/hp.2022.149029

Abstract

During the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks, such as surgical masks and cloth masks, were employed as a public and personal health control measure against the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Using masks is recommended for diseases transmitted through airborne droplets and respiration, but the recommendations vary based on the guidelines. Since the beginning of the outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly revised the recommendations on the general use of face masks. Until recently, the WHO recommended limiting the use of facemasks to symptomatic people and advised against off-standard solutions. Moreover, recommendations differ among and within countries; in general, the routine use of masks by the WHO, CDC, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in the community is not recommended.
However, the use of face masks is recommended in crowded environments (such as public transportation) and for people at risk (the elderly, pregnant women, and those with underlying diseases). The WHO recommends general measures to reduce the transmission of infection, including thorough hand washing, respiratory hygiene, and avoiding close contact with live or dead animals and sick individuals. It should be noted, however, that people who do not have respiratory symptoms do not need to wear a medical mask in the community, even if COVID 19 is prevalent in that area. It is also important for health authorities to provide clear guidelines for the production, use, sanitization, or reuse of face masks and consider their distribution as shortages allow. Clear and implementable guidelines can help increase compliance and bring communities closer to the goal of reducing and ultimately stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Keywords