Survey finds masks to be an effective mode to control Covid spread

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on October 23, 2020

A survey conducted by Manipal College of Health Professionals (MCHP), under the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), has found that wearing a mask is an effective measure to control the spread of Covid-19 with 90 per cent of participants agreeing to it. However, a major chunk of participants also found it uncomfortable.

Speaking at the virtual symposium on ‘Covid-19 and rehabilitation’, jointly organised by MAHE and McGill School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, Vaishali K, Professor and Head of the Department of Physiotherapy, MCHP, said that 90 per cent of the participants in MCHP’s survey agreed that wearing a mask is an effective measure to control the spread of Covid-19, and two-third of them overwhelmed by the impact of wearing it.

Replying to the query of one of the international participants on the reasons for this, she said the strict measures by the government to wear masks helped in this matter. The government made it compulsory to wear masks and imposed fines on those violating it. Apart from this, the government had taken various measures to create awareness on the need to wear masks and to maintain social distancing to control the spread of Covid-19.

However, Vaishali said, almost two-third of the respondents found wearing a mask as uncomfortable. A majority of the respondents felt that wearing masks is suffocating, due to which they feel they need to inhale air more than the normal through mouth and the nostril.

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Comfort level

On the impact of wearing masks, she said nearly 49 per cent of the respondents felt tired and drained easily while climbing, jogging, and during strenuous exercises, and 69 per cent felt they had to breath harder.

Almost 66 per cent of the respondents felt perspiration around their mouth during activities, and 42 per cent felt dehydrated from longer duration of mask wearing. Around 38 per cent of the respondents in the survey felt pounding of heart with minimal activity.

She said that 52 per cent of the respondents felt itchiness around nose and mouth irrespective of the mask used, and 61 per cent felt their muffled voice made them to shout and exhaust while wearing the mask.

She suggested that there is a need to explore ways to improve mask designing in a way that can allow purified air to enter into the mask filtering away the bacterial and viral particles.

“As we learn to live with this crisis, we can also develop better masks and improvise lifestyle changes that can boost our immunity and create an in-built self-healing capacity that makes us stronger from within,” she said.

As many as 1,179 participants responded to the survey questionnaire, and 70 per cent of them were women, she said.

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Published on October 23, 2020

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