Home Health & Fitness Homemade masks release fibres into air, important to wash them, say scientists

Homemade masks release fibres into air, important to wash them, say scientists

By: PTI | Los Angeles |

September 27, 2020 12:37:11 pm

A tailor in Panchkula sells masks (Express photo by Jaipal Singh)While surgical and N95 masks cut down the amount of aerosolized particles emitted during breathing, talking and coughing, scientists say in the case of homemade cloth face coverings, the fabric which traps the droplets may release a large amount of fibres into the air, underscoring the importance of washing them.
The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, noted that the use of masks and other face coverings has emerged as an important tool to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
But while evidence shows that face coverings generally reduce the spread of airborne particles containing the virus, the scientists, including those from the University of California Davis (UC Davis) in the US, noted that there is limited information on how well they compare with each other.
They set up experiments to measure the flow of particles from volunteers wearing masks while they performed “expiratory activities” including breathing, talking, coughing and moving their jaw as if chewing gum.
According to the scientists, these particles are small enough to float through the air over a considerable distance, but large enough to carry viruses such as the novel coronavirus which causes COVID-19.
They also found that a fraction of people are “superemitters” who give off many more particles than average.
In the study, 10 volunteers sat in front of a funnel in a laminar flow cabinet which drew air from in front of their faces into a device that
measured the size and number of particles they exhaled.
One of the volunteers in the study was a superemitter who consistently produced nearly 100 times as many particles as the others
when coughing, the scientists said.
The volunteers wore either no mask, a medical-grade surgical mask, two types of N95 mask (vented or not), a homemade paper mask or homemade one- or two-layer cloth mask made from a cotton T-shirt.
The study found that talking gave off about 10 times more particles than simple breathing without wearing a mask, and forced coughing produced a variable amount of particles.
In all the test scenarios, surgical and N95 masks blocked as much as 90 percent of particles, compared to not wearing a mask, the researchers said.
Face coverings also reduced airborne particles from the superemitter, the study noted.
However, the researchers said, homemade cotton masks actually produced more particles than not wearing a mask.
According to the scientists, these appeared to be tiny fibres released from the fabric.
Since the cotton masks produced particles themselves, they said it’s difficult to tell if they also blocked exhaled particles, but added that they seemed to at least reduce the number of larger particles.
While masks are effective in reducing the spread of airborne particles, the scientists said it is also important to regularly wash cloth masks.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
For all the latest Coronavirus Outbreak News, download Indian Express App.

Read More


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

How can I tell the difference between the flu and COVID-19?

Last Updated : Oct 01, 2020 01:54 PM IST | Source: AP Body aches, sore throat, fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and headaches are symptoms shared by the two. How can I tell the difference between the flu and COVID-19?It’s impossible to tell without a test. Influenza and COVID-19 have such similar symptoms, you…

Cardiac arrest common in sick Covid-19 patients

Photo for representational purpose only. iStock New York, October 1 Cardiac arrest is common in critically ill patients with Covid-19 and is associated with poor survival, particularly among patients aged 80 or older, say researchers. The findings, published in the journal The BMJ, could help guide end-of-life care discussions with critically ill patients with Covid-19…

Beware: Vitamin D deficiency can make you obese and lead to stunted growth

Vitamin D, or the ‘Sunshine Vitamin as it is also known as, is one of the essential nutrients that makes your bones and teeth stronger, wards off infections and diseases and keeps you cheerful. This fat-soluble vitamin can also bring down your risk of cancer, autoimmune diseases, heart disease and diabetes. But unfortunately, as many…

COVID-19 cases decline, deaths increase in Chandigarh as September ends

Naina MishraTribune News ServiceChandigarh, October 1 As September comes to an end, the Union Territory has started to witness a decline in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, and daily tests.  However, COVID deaths have increased with every passing week.  September has recorded 100 COVID-19 deaths whereas August reported only 39 deaths.  At least three…

Recent Comments