Face mask use and disposal behaviour of frontline young doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic: a two-year study

  • Shibaji Gupta Department of Community Medicine, Midnapore Medical College, Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal, India https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1594-9337
  • Arup Chakraborty Department of Community Medicine, Medical College, Kolkata, West Bengal, India https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5349-9920
  • Rudradeep Banerjee Department of General Surgery, Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
  • Abhishek De Department of Community Medicine, Midnapore Medical College, Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal, India
  • Sohini Halder Department of Internal Medicine, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2645-5006
  • Debasis Das Department of Community Medicine, Medical College, Kolkata, West Bengal, India https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3323-2839
Keywords: frontline worker, health worker, occupational risk, SARS-CoV-2, India

Abstract

Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected India in spite of an ongoing vaccination campaign. The doctors are at greater risk of COVID-19 and face masks are a protective measure against this threat. We assessed the use and disposal of face masks among postgraduate trainees (PGTs) working on the COVID-19 frontline in an Indian medical college.

Methodology: Data was collected from all PGTs who agreed to participate during the first, second and third wave of the pandemic in India. A pre-tested questionnaire to assess and compare face mask use and disposal behaviour across the three phases was used.

Results: All participants used face masks regularly; a significant uptrend in N-95 mask users and double mask users was observed as the pandemic progressed. Use of face shields peaked during the second wave. Most participants preferred keeping the mask on always at work and avoided donning and doffing of masks in between usage. Many of them practiced ‘extended use’ of face masks and nearly a third re-used a mask for ≥ 6 days, which is against the standard recommendations; however, such behavior among participants showed a downward trend. Proper disposal practices were not followed by many participants, leaving scope for environmental contamination.

Conclusions: There is an imminent need to make the young frontline doctors aware regarding appropriate mask usage and disposal for better preparedness before any health exigencies of the future.

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Published
2022-10-31
How to Cite
1.
Gupta S, Chakraborty A, Banerjee R, De A, Halder S, Das D (2022) Face mask use and disposal behaviour of frontline young doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic: a two-year study. J Infect Dev Ctries 16:1570-1577. doi: 10.3855/jidc.16975
Section
Coronavirus Pandemic