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Face masks in schools: Unanimous "YES" to the use of a mask at school by the Pediatric Pulmonary Society!!

With a scientific text entitled “Unanimity” the Hellenic Pediatric Pulmonary Society, answers all doubts and questions about necessity, but also the proper use of the mask at school……

Twenty members of the Hellenic Pulmonary Society with the contribution of An. Professor of Pediatrics - Infectious Diseases Charalambos Andachopoulos and the University Scholarship of AUTh Pediatrics - Infectious Diseases Ilias Iosifidis, answer all of their arguments “of the mask at school”, with reference to scientific sources and studies of the world literature for the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Scientists are adamant:

“There is no evidence to date that the use of a mask is harmful to children's health, while carbon dioxide is not trapped in the mask”.

Doctors give, also, all the useful tips that parents need to teach their children to use the mask safely at school, as a necessary means of protecting the student community and society as a whole from the coronavirus pandemic.

Instructions for using a mask at school

  • Sars-Cov2 coronavirus is a highly contagious virus that can cause severe lung and systemic disease (COVID-19), often fatal, in people with underlying diseases or the elderly.
  • In children the disease from corωmind usually acts gently, with runny nose, sore throat, fever, cough, abdominal pain or diarrhea. Because of the above symptoms, are non-specific and are found in the majority of childhood viral infections, the diagnosis of COVID-19 based on the clinical picture, it is extremely difficult.
  • Due to the mildness of the symptoms, children can be carriers of the virus and transmit it to the home environment. namely, children are the "Trojan horse", with which the coronavirus can enter any home and infect the family.

Οι αναγνωρισμένοι τρόποι προφύλαξης από τον coronavirus They are:

1. Meticulous hand hygiene and avoidance of eye contact, nose and mouth.

2. Adequate ventilation of spaces.

3. Maintain distance (at least 1,5 measure) between us.

4. Use a face mask.

According to the above, τα παιδιά όταν είναι στο σχολείο:

  • It is very difficult to keep their hands clean.
  • It is difficult to live in a well ventilated area, especially in winter with cold.
  • It is difficult to keep a safe distance.

That's why they have to wear a mask!!

Recommendations

  • The use of a mask is essential during the lesson.
  • The use of a mask is optional during the break, not used in gymnastics, provided they are carried out outdoors and provided the safety distance is maintained.
  • The role of teachers is very important and consists of:
      • Daily reminder, for proper precaution (1-4).
      • Surveillance to maintain a safe distance.
      • Encouragement of compliance according to the instructions of EODY.
  • The use of a "face shield", not recommended as an alternative.
  • To date, there are no scientific data that justify the issuance of a medical opinion, for not using the mask in children with normal psychomotor development.

Frequent questions

Which mask is suitable for school?;

Fabric masks are sufficient for school use. However, their proper use is more important. Masks should fit well covering the nose, the child's mouth and chin. Parents can try the mask that best suits their child.

How to educate the child and how to make sure that his mask remains in good condition;

  • It is recommended that each child bring at least TWO masks to school, each in its own separate case (B.C. a simple plastic bag ).
  • Before using the mask, wash our hands WELL for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or antiseptic.
  • We hold the mask by the laces and apply it well on the face. Then avoid holding the mask with your hands , to reveal the nose or lower it to the jaw.
  • Avoid holding the mask from the front surface.
  • Avoid resting the mask on shared surfaces.

Children with asthma belong to vulnerable groups; They must wear some other kind of mask or not at all;

Children with asthma adequately controlled with medication, do not belong to the vulnerable groups for severe coronavirus disease, According to current data. Using a mask for these children is completely safe, just like for their classmates. It generally protects them from respiratory viruses that can trigger an asthma attack.. Children with severe, inadequate asthma, which in our country are very few in number, probably at greater risk for serious illness. The use of the mask, not only is it not contraindicated, but is necessary for the better protection of these children.

The use of the mask may cause difficulty breathing or affect the development of the child's lungs;

No, there is no scientific evidence to date to support this.

Does the mask prevent the exhalation of carbon dioxide;

No. Exhaled carbon molecules are so tiny that they cannot be trapped in a mask. It is recalled that many health professionals, such as doctors in surgeries, but also dentists, use the masks many hours a day and for many years, without any effect on their health.

A child can use a face shield instead of a mask;

Face shields are mainly used to protect the eyes from contaminated droplets. They have been shown to provide some protection which, however, is inferior to the use of a mask, as droplets can pass from the side of the shield so as not to protect the child and those around him.

What are the vulnerable groups in children who need special attention;

Vulnerable groups include children with:

  1. Severe uncontrolled asthma
  2. Cystic fibrosis
  3. Chronic interstitial lung diseases
  4. Tracheostomy or with mechanical support of the breath
  5. History of severe immunosuppression (chemotherapy, hematopoietic cell or solid organ transplant)
  6. Treatment with biological agents, such as children with rheumatic diseases or inflammatory bowel disease
  7. Diabetes
  8. Mediterranean anemia

Especially for the vulnerable children mentioned above, surgical masks or high protection masks are preferred (B.C. FFP2 or N95) versus plain fabric.

Thank you very much to the working group, τον Αν. Professor of Pediatrics – Infectious Diseases Charalambos Andachopoulos and the University Fellow of AUTh Pediatrics – Infectious Diseases Ilias Iosifidis, for their contribution to the writing of the text.

These instructions are based on experience to date, national and international guidelines, will be under constant review as pandemic data is constantly updated.

For any further information, clarification or observation, please write to us at: info@hpps.gr

Hellenic Pulmonary Society

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