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The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Friday launched an advisory on the use of cloth face masks.

The advisory contains what should be considered when using cloth face masks also known as non-medical face masks.

According to the health agency, after wearing face masks, one must also:

– Avoid large gatherings

– Embrace physical distancing by maintaining a distance of two metres between yourself and others

– Perform regular hand washing with soap under running water

– Do frequent cleaning of surfaces with soap and water or disinfectants

NCDC also said individuals at a high-risk of complications due to COVID-19, such as health workers, people experiencing respiratory symptoms like coughing and sneezing, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions should not use cloth face masks, rather they should stick to the use of medical masks.

The advisory said that hands should be washed frequently under running water, social distancing measures should be adhered and citizens should stay at home as much as possible, masks should always be worn before leaving the home, and masks should be made with at least three layers of fabric.

It further said that children under the age of two years should not use cloth face masks.

Masks purchased from vendors should not be worn immediately, instead they should be washed before first use.

Face masks should only be reused when they are washed and dried, and they should not be left on uncleaned surfaces or within the reach of small children when not in use.

And when coughing or sneezing, the mask should not be pulled down, rather “use a tissue or your bent elbow over the mask.”

“Because they (cloth face masks) are reusable, it is very important that cloth face masks are handled and cared for properly to avoid further spread of infectious agents,” the advisory added.

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The guidelines for the care of non-medical masks include:

Making sure the mask has been washed and is unused before first wear.

Washing hands with soap under running water before touching the masks (when not available water can be substituted with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer).

It also advised users to:

Cover the nose and mouth completely with masks with no open gaps.

Avoid touching or adjusting the masks while on the face.

Wash and sanitise hands before removing the masks by the straps.

Wash the mask immediately after use with soap or detergent and allow it to dry completely in the sun, and before re-use, iron the mask.

NAFDAC Advisory

The Nigerian Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC) also issued a statement on Wednesday that such masks should not be used in healthcare settings or by healthcare professionals.

Nigeria has 1,932 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 319 recoveries, and 58 deaths.

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