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The myths surrounding the wearing of personal protective equipment during a Covid-19 pandemic

Hygienic par Hygie.com |
Les mythes entourant le port des équipements de protection individuelle en période de pandémie de Covid-19

From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the population became aware of the importance of hand washing as well as of the different types of personal protective equipment, such as procedural masks, N-95 masks and visors. . The use of these by the population is based primarily on perceptions and not on science which results in the creation of myths.

The myths about this equipment come mainly from the fact that they are used in healthcare settings and that people in the population transpose their use to them believing that this equipment offers them optimal protection. The main example is the use of the N-95 mask. At the start of the pandemic, several people in the population flocked to pharmacies and online sites to purchase N-95 masks. This rush is one of the reasons that caused supply difficulties for hospitals. In fact, the purchase of an N-95 mask by the population was unnecessary because the N-95 mask to be fully effective requires tests to adapt it to the face of the wearer. Wearing an N-95 mask that does not fit the face is equivalent to wearing a procedural mask.

Another myth concerns the procedural mask or the homemade face covering. Some people believe that these types of masks are of no use. It is true that these masks do not protect as much as a fitted N-95 mask, however they remain a small barrier which somewhat reduces the viral load breathed. On the other hand, they remain an important barrier to limit the emission of potentially contaminated droplets. This barrier is all the more important as we find asymptomatic cases in the population which can spread the virus. So, if each person respects social distancing and wears a mask, we greatly reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19.

A third piece of equipment that is the subject of a myth is the wearing of the visor alone. In hospitals, the visor is worn with a procedural mask or with an N-95 mask depending on the nature of the activities performed. Some people in the population wear the visor alone without a mask, believing themselves to be protected. This is a measure that offers very little protection both from the point of view of the risk of emission and that of protecting oneself. On the other hand, for the safety of some workers (due to the creation of fogging in the glasses when wearing a mask) the wearing of the visor alone could be considered as a means of last resort according to the Institut de Santé Publique du Québec. .

In conclusion, these various myths show that from the start of the pandemic, the population lacked adequate basic information on the use of personal protective equipment. The problem today stems from the fact that these myths persist over time and that improper use of personal protective equipment can contribute to increasing the risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus.

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