The Coronavirus pandemic has already affected the lives of millions of people all over the globe with nearly 532,909 confirmed cases being reported globally. In an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19, many countries have also imposed a lockdown forcing people to stay at home. However, it has also resulted in the shortage of many supplies as people have stocked up food items and essentials, leaving most of the shelves in supermarkets empty.
Face masks and alcohol-based sanitizers are also among the most bought items amid the virus outbreak. Now, with the entire world witnessing a shortage of these items, people have gone crazy with some innovative hacks to protect themselves from the novel COVID-19. From using woman's bra, pad, vegetables, fruits, plastic cans to wrapping the whole body in plastic covers, many ideas have been going viral on social media for quite some time now.
Wet wipes used as a face mask
Now, a video of a woman, speaking Indonesian, suggesting the use of wet wipes as a face mask to protect against Coronavirus has also surfaced online. "If you are not sure, make two layers. If masks are not available, just use this one. Do not worry (translated by AFP)," she is heard saying in the video.
The one-minute clip has been shared online with the caption: "The most practical method of making masks from wet wipes to protect against coronavirus," by a user named Elişi Dünyası. The post has gone viral with more than 167,000 people sharing it on Facebook alone.
Is it safe to use wet wipes as face masks?
It is understood that the product used by the woman in the clip is of the company PZ Cussons.
Therefore, it is clear that baby wipes are not effective disinfectants, especially in disinfecting Coronavirus. Also, it is not listed among the list of disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2 published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Even netizens seem to be divided over this idea of using wet wipes as a face mask. While some claim it would be better than using nothing, many others suggest it to be a bad idea as it catches bacteria and stays for a long time. Many have also claimed that these wipes might be loaded with chemicals that are unsafe to breathe in.
"It's wet. It is more prone to bacteria and virus than the dry ones because wet surface even though it is antiseptic will hoard all the microorganisms it catches plus the efficacy of that antiseptic will diminish in open air before it gets dry," commented a netizen.
The right thing to do
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and health experts have repeatedly suggested that washing hands frequently using soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizers as the most effective way of protecting from getting the Coronavirus infection.
The WHO has also recommended people on using face masks only if they are coughing or sneezing. Apart from sick people, health workers and people taking care of a person with the suspected 2019-nCoV infection are also advised to wear face masks.