UMCG professor on the (in) sense of mouth masks: “It doesn’t help against viruses, it’s a sham security” – Groningen



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Now that the new coronavirus is also spreading outside of China, it is impossible to wear mouth masks. Demand is also rising in the Netherlands. Nonsense, professor of medical microbiology Bert Niesters of the UMCG reacts to the use of mouth masks. “It doesn’t help against viruses, it’s a sham security.”


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Mouth masks come in all shapes and sizes, says Niesters. ,, At airports you have been seeing Chinese or Koreans with masks walking around for quite some time. Those are more surgical caps from those loose ones. Wipes around your mouth and, if all goes well, also cover your nose. “” But viruses, such as corona, go through this with ease.

,, Coronaviruses and other viruses are in small droplets and you actually get infected from a small distance. It is a distance of one and a half to two meters, or less. The drops then come on the mouth caps and if you tackle this with your hand you can still infect yourself. ”


In addition, according to Niesters, the use is unhygienic. ,, If you yourself are sick and have to cough or sneeze, you infect the mouthpiece from the inside with your own dirty liquid. You will see people then remove the cap. Meaningless. ”

People who nevertheless insist on using a mouthpiece should change the mask regularly. Niesters points out that the mouth caps that are now in great demand worldwide are actually meant to protect against fine dust. “And I also have the idea that it is becoming more commonplace among certain groups.”

Hood with a filter

Don’t there be any kind of mouth caps that offer protection against infection with viruses such as corona? There are, Niesters continues. ,, A real protection is a hood with a filter. They are also used in laboratories when working with a patient’s material or when you are in the room with an infected patient. In these cases you know that the risk of infection is high. ”

In daily life the use of a medical mouth cap is not feasible. ,, Breathing is more difficult and more tiring. You have to breathe in and out really well. You don’t last that long. ”

In the Netherlands, people may already wear masks, but the situation is not really worrying. ,, We are all well prepared. Measures have been taken, the hospitals have isolation rooms and luckily the flu epidemic is very limited at the moment, “says Niesters. If an infection with the new coronavirus is discovered in the Netherlands, the GGD is ready to see who the patient has been in contact with.

The UMCG has on his website published seven questions and answers about the danger of the corona virus.


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