Dr Zaineb Sabri, specialist internal medicine, Medcare Hospital Sharjah, shares tips on choosing the right masks and sanitisers for protection against coronavirus.

What masks are ideal for exercise?

I don’t advise N95 masks specifically used by medical personnel as it allows very limited air flow and can feel suffocating. Triple-layer surgical masks or any cloth mask that can be washed are ideal for intense exercises.


Can disposable surgical masks be reused?

No. Surgical masks are only for one-time use. The guideline for these masks is to discard them once the inside lining is damp with moisture from breath.

How do we disinfect cloth masks correctly?

Usually, washing them in hot soapy water is enough. With store-bought cloth masks, follow manufacturers’ guidelines. Certain materials lose their efficacy to filter particles after a few washes. Dispose them once it loses its elasticity or starts becoming porous.

What materials of cloth masks work best?

Cotton and silk are more breathable. Nylon filters well but breathing through it will be difficult, making it unsuitable to use for long periods of time.

How do you ensure face masks fit you well?

Face masks are generally universal in dimension and size. But proper fitting should ensure our nose and mouth is covered snugly. The mask should extend from the nasal bridge to the lower part of the chin.

What active ingredient in sanitisers should people look out for?

Sanitisers with alcohol content of 70 per cent and above in the form of ethanol or isopropyl.

Is a particular kind of sanitiser more effective?

Liquid, gel, foam and spray sanitisers are all effective as long as they have the recommended alcohol content.

Do all soaps kill the virus?

Yes. The process of saponification dissolves the lipid envelope of the virus – so, any soap that produces bubbles works even if it isn’t antibacterial. Besides, antibacterial chemicals kill bacteria not virus.

What’s the best sanitation practice while using the car?

Always keep disinfectant (not cleansing) wipes with alcohol handy in the car. If you’re entering your car after being in public spaces like supermarkets, dispose your gloves or sanitise your hands before touching the steering wheel or gear stick.

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