Stop panic buying: N95 masks and PPE kits are not for general public, the doctors need them more

Doctors say N95 masks and PPE kits are only required for healthcare providers dealing with contagious diseases.

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Doctors in Pakistan are saying that N95 masks and specialized personal protective equipment (PPE) kits are not meant for the public and are only required for healthcare providers dealing with contagious diseases, including the coronavirus.

Contagious diseases experts Dr. Shobha Luxmi and Dr. Azizullah Khan Dhiloo are stressing that people must understand they do not need N95 masks and PPEs. Both the doctors are directly dealing with the coronavirus patients in Karachi’s Civil and Dow Ojha hospitals.

Who needs N95 MASKS?

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According to The US Centres for Disease Control recommendations, the use of N95 masks is to prevent the inhalation of infectious particles (avian influenza, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), pandemic influenza, and Ebola).

A consultant medical microbiologist at Shaukat Khanum, Dr. Summiya Nizamuddin, said, “The general public certainly does not need to use masks for the coronavirus.”

Dr. Summiya Nizamuddin further said, “Also, people need to know that they cannot wear the N95 mask for more than seven days, and it must be thrown away once it’s distorted while surgical ones can be reused but must be discarded if they get wet.”

Who needs PPE Kits?

A Personal Protective kit (PPE) comprises of gowns, hoods, gloves, disposable masks, shoe covers, face shields, and protective goggles worn by healthcare personnel dealing with contagious diseases.

According to the US Centres for Disease Control, “patients with confirmed or possible SARS-CoV-2 infection should wear a facemask when being assessed medically. Healthcare providers should use eye protection (goggles or a face shield) when caring for patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection”.

According to the CDC guidelines, the general public does not need N95 and PPE kits at all. Instead, it stresses on washing hands, covering a cough, and staying home.

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