Be careful! Throw out wipes and masks properly!

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UNAIR NEWS – Lately, people are occupied with the spread of Covid-19 which takes more casualties. In various parts of the world, thousands of human lives lost due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Various attempts have been made by the majority of the community to break the chain of the Covid-19 spread, such as efforts to hygiene and healthy behavior (PHBS), using masks, social distancing, consuming spices, vitamins, and so forth. However, there are still things that are often forgotten by the community, good tissue and mask waste management.

One of the national printed medias explained tissues, masks, and disposable cloths have been used as medical equipment for handling Covid 19. These items are infectious medical waste. So, the processing must be separated and stored for at least 72 hours or 3 days, then they can be thrown out in the trash.

In this regard, one of the lecturers at Faculty of Public Health (FKM) Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) Prof. Soedjajadi Keman, dr., MS., Ph.D., said that this method is not effective. Medical waste should be disinfected before being disposed of.

“Medical waste such as masks should be disinfected before being disposed of so it does not transmit disease to those who transport garbage or people around it,” said Prof. Soedjajadi during presentation on Hospital Medical Waste Management in an online lecture to students interested in Environmental Health, Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

He continued, the used masks should be soaked for about 10 minutes in a disinfectant liquid, such as chlorine, carbolic acid, lysol, detol, or other kinds. Then, it can be washed using soap or detergent, and dried in the sun. After that, the mask can be ironed and then reused.

For disposable masks, after the disinfection process can be immediately disposed of because it is safe from microorganisms.

“After disinfection, the garbage can be disposed of safely like other domestic waste,” he said.

Furthermore, Prof. Soedjajadi said, it is better to do the disinfection process first, not leaving them away then thrown them out. Because actually, viruses can survive on objects or surfaces for several days. So, to be more effective, people are advised to wash the used masks after using them.

Avoid throwing out tissue

One item that is still often overlooked is tissue. Often people after using a tissue directly thrown away, sometimes even in any place. This should not be done.

Viruses can easily stick to tissue used by people who are sick, either when sneezing, coughing, or just cleaning snot. For tissues, disinfection can be done first. But if disinfection is not possible, the tissue can be burned.

However, the burning should not be mixed with other waste. Because in the regulation of the minister of health, it should not cause thick smoke in burning garbage.

“Do not throw away the tissue directly, it can be burned. However, it should not cause thick smoke, because it also poses a danger for breathing, “said Prof. Soedjajadi.

Good management of tissues and masks before being disposed of in the environment can be one of the efforts to break the chain of Covid-19 virus transmission. Not only Covid-19, but also viruses or other bacteria present in the human body. (*)

Author: Ulfah Mu’amarotul Hikmah

Editor: Binti Q Masruroh

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Media komunikasi dan informasi seputar kampus Universitas Airlangga (Unair).

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