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Knowledge, attitude, and practices of 2nd year MBBS students regarding the use of face mask to limit the spread of the new coronavirus disease

Vijayakumar A E, Seethalakshmi S, Vinay M, Arjun S, Nikhithaa P.


Background: The onset of the aggressive Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic has necessitated masks for the health care community. For healthcare workers, proper knowledge, a good attitude and increased comfortability with masks are of great essence. Knowledge of proper use and handling of masks among health care workers and medical students is of utmost importance as they protect the wearer and those around from transmission of infection.

Aim and Objectives: To assess the Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices of 2nd year MBBS Students Regarding the Use of Face Mask to Limit the Spread of the New COVID-19.

Materials and Methods: After obtaining ethical approval from the Institutional Ethical Committee with an ethical approval no. of IEC/2020/2/42, a questionnaire with 14 questions was prepared to investigate the knowledge, attitude, practices, and problems faced by 2nd Year MBBS students with regards to wearing a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. The questionnaire was sent electronically, consent was obtained and the responses were analyzed.

Results: Assessment of knowledge revealed that 87.3% of participants knew the correct way of using a mask, 87.3% knew that there are three layers in it and 83.3% knew that the middle layer acts as the filter media barrier. Only 32.4% of participants knew that a surgical mask can be used for 8 hours and 92.2% incorrectly indicated cloth masks to be as effective in protection from COVID-19 as surgical masks are. About 97.1% of participants knew the purpose of metal strips and 93.1% knew the extent to which a surgical mask must cover. The attitude was excellent with 95.1% of participants believing that surgical masks can help, 90.2% saying they knew the steps of wearing a mask, and participants wearing masks at all times when conversing with patients and in public as well. Perturbingly, only 24.5% of participants faced no issues when wearing a mask.

Conclusion: Overall, respondents displayed thorough knowledge and exuded a highly positive attitude but less than a fourth of respondents faced no issues while wearing a mask. Continued educational efforts and more research into mask comfort is the need of the hour.

Key words: Face Mask; Second MBBS Students; Coronavirus Disease 19; Knowledge; Attitude; Practice; Limit the Spread

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