Assessing awareness and practice towards Surgical Mask Regulations among the Population of Chandigarh: A Cross-Sectional Analysis

Introduction: During the COVID-19 pandemic, surgical masks have become a crucial protective measure to prevent the spread of the virus. While they are regulated as medical devices to ensure their effectiveness, the high demand for masks has led to an increase in counterfeit products that pose a threat to public health. Materials and methods: In Chandigarh, India, a cross-sectional study was conducted with 350 individuals aged 15 and above who had access to social networks. An online questionnaire consisting of 20 questions on knowledge, practice, and demographics was used to collect data through convenience sampling with a chain-sampling method. Descriptive statistics and correlation and linear regression analysis were performed using SPSS version 29.0 to find a statistically significant relationship between knowledge, practice, and demographic variables. Result: Of 350 participants in the survey 26.0% were aged 15-29, 32.6% were aged 30-39, 13.4% were aged 40-49, and 28.0% were aged 50-80. In terms of gender, 49.1% were male and 50.9% were female. The majority had a master's degree (45.7%) and were employed in the private sector (49.4%). Education had a significant impact on knowledge (t-value of 11.375, significance level < .001), but job type did not (t-value of -1.740, significance level .083). Participants' knowledge and practice had a strong positive correlation (Pearson Correlation coefficient of 1.000, significance level < .001). The constant (intercept) was significant in predicting practice, while age, gender, and job were not (significance levels > .05). Conclusion: The study found that the community had satisfactory awareness and practice of using certified and licensed surgical masks. However, there is a need for reinforced education on the topic. The researchers recommend mass media campaigns and strict government regulation to ensure the use of certified masks and prevent the use of counterfeit ones. Continuous education is also necessary to help the public understand the importance of using certified and licensed masks for maximum protection.