Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu with a fitting face mask during visit to an isolation center (Lagos govt)
Coronavirus’ rapid increase in recent weeks has now ensured that everyone is becoming more intentional about staying protected.
While handwashing and physical distancing are still valid modes of protection, the wearing of masks is becoming increasingly popular. State governments are relaxing their lockdown rules and banking on masks, while others are initiating mask-wearing campaigns in addition to their ongoing state-wide lockdown.
Because this [expected] increase in demand creates a risk of people ending up with inadequate masks, it is important to spell out what the proper face mask should looks like. The standards Organisation of Nigeria [SON] has provided all the relevant information on this and whether you are a maker, user or both, it is important to pay attention:
SON’s tips are for Barrier masks not N95 surgical respirators
The masks in question here are the barrier masks. They should be distinguished from the N95 surgical ones.
Who should use masks?
To be used by healthy people not presenting any clinical symptoms of viral infection and not in contact with people presenting such symptoms.
What such barrier mask should look like?
A barrier Mask covers the nose, mouth and chin. It must be a single layer or multiple-layer composite made of fabrics (nonwoven, woven, knit) with inner filter.
If you are making them for sale, how should they be packaged?
The barrier masks shall be packaged in such a way as to protect them against any mechanical damage and any contamination before use. Individual or grouped packaging solutions are at the manufacturer’s discretion.
The masks should be designed to be reusable; but how will you wash and care for them?
the materials used shall withstand the cleaning and drying products and methods specified by the SON.
If any damage to the barrier mask is detected after a wash, maybe because it has become ill-fitting or deformed in any way, then the barrier mask should no longer be used.
The parts of the barrier mask likely to be in contact with the user shall be free of sharp edges and burrs. It should be colourless (Colours are monogenic). Testing shall be performed in accordance with AFNOR SPEC-S76-001: 2020
The head harness shall be designed such that the barrier mask can be easily put on and removed. It shall be sufficiently robust to hold the barrier mask in place in such a way as to avoid excessive tightness and discomfort when worn. The head harness can go around the user’s head or ears.
No staples or pins, please!
The use of staples pin to hold barrier mask is not allowed as it can constitute a hazard or nuisance to the user.
Instructions for use should be put on the masks by the users
Information on the masks shall include name, trademark, recommended period of use and cleaning instructions etc.
Use masks AND maintain social distancing and washing of hands!
The barrier mask does not absolutely exonerate the user from application of the protective and social distancing measures which are essential.
To be effective, the barrier mask must be used correctly. It is to be worn on bare skin (without the presence of hair in contact with the user’s skin and for certain people, a shaven skin).
Wash your hands with soap and water or rub with a alcohol-based hand Sanitizers before any handling of the mask
For reuse of the mask, ensure that it has been properly washed before hand in accordance with recommendations in the Standard.
Read the infographics in the tweets above to catch the full details of SON’s helpful tips.