MASKS should be removed every hour to allow wearers to take in oxygen and ‘ventilate the face’, Costa del Sol experts have advised.

The new advice was given in a statement on Monday by specialists from the Vithas Xanit International hospital in Benalmadena.

“Ideally, from a respiratory point of view, a small break of five or 10 minutes should be made every hour, or even every 45 minutes,” the statement read.

It added that a 30-60 minute break should be taken after wearing the mask for four or five hours straight.

Gustavo Luis, head pulmonologist at the hospital, said you must obey the laws on face mask use when removing the personal protective equipment.

“A break can only be taken if the regulations on the use of masks are not breached at any time,” he said.

He added: “A non-reusable mask should not be used for more than four hours and should be changed even earlier if it is wet or damaged…and it should be kept in a suitable place, free of germs.

“Most people leave it on their neck, or on their wrist, which is not recommended because both parts of the body can come into contact with droplets or a contaminated surface, but we also have to avoid placing it on the work table or a restaurant table while we are eating or putting it in our pocket.”

De Luiz also warned against re-using the same mask over and over again as it can cause skin infections due to a build up of bacteria and fungi while also becoming less effective.

“In the case of surgical masks, they have to be discarded after a continuous use of four hours,” he explained.

“With the hygienic ones it is necessary to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, which usually specify the time during which it is effective, but regardless of this, they have to be washed daily and in the case of having filters, they must be replaced every day.”

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