The use of masks to protect against respiratory infections: an umbrella review

Olry de Labry-Lima, Antonio; Bermudez-Tamayo, Clara; Martinez-Olmos, Jose; Martin-Ruiz, Eva

VL / 39 - BP / 436 - EP / 444
Introduction: The global health emergency caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in a huge challenge at all levels. The use of masks may reduce the spread of the infection by minimising the excretion of Flugge droplets. The objective of this study was to compile the evidence available on the use of masks in relation to respiratory infections. Methodology: An umbrella review (review of systematic reviews) was conducted. Two reviewers independently carried out the screening process, data extraction and data analysis. Discrepancies were resolved with a third reviewer, and the assessment of the risk of bias of the studies was carried out using the AMSTAR 2 tool. The Rayyan QCRI program was used for the screening process. Results: A total of eight systematic reviews were included. The studies analysed the use of masks in the general population, in long-term care facilities, in hospitals and at mass gatherings, and compared the effectiveness thereof in preventing infection. The results of this review revealed that the use of masks is associated with a protective effect against respiratory infections in healthcare facilities, in long-term care facilities and at mass gatherings. Conclusions: In light of the results, it seems reasonable to recommend the use of masks to the general population, but this use should be accompanied by a training programme to improve compliance, as not using them properly may increase the risk of infection. (C) 2021 Sociedad Espanola de Enfermedades Infecciosas y Microbiologia Clinica. Published by Elsevier Espa na, S.L.U. All rights reserved.

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