The CDC and Prevention are warning against wearing masks with exhalation valves or vents, a type of face covering made for hot and dusty construction work that has become a popular pandemic accessory because of its seemingly high-tech design.
“The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control,” the agency’s guidance reads. “However, masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others. This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others. Therefore, CDC does not recommend using masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent.”
Public health experts recommend mask-wearing to prevent respiratory droplets from spreading into the air when you exhale, speak, cough or sneeze, and valves allow those droplets through. The CDC recommends simple cloth masks instead. A few layers of cotton prevent most of the potentially infectious respiratory droplets from escaping into the air around you.
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