HEALTH TIPS : Know from the expert : Does washing the mask reduce the filtration efficiency? which mask is the safest
This period of corona infection has made people understand the need of wearing masks very well. Health experts say that everyone should wear a mask regularly to stay safe from infection. Amidst the havoc of Corona for the last one and a half years, many types of masks have come on the market. Some masks are for one-time use, whereas masks made of cloth, especially those made of cloth, can be used multiple times. You too must have washed and used cloth masks often. So does washing or cleaning a mask affect its ability to filter molecules? Shouldn't the mask be used more than once? Such questions must have come to your mind too.
Researchers from the US-based University of Colorado Boulder conducted a study to find the answer to this question. Scientists found that washing and drying reusable masks does not reduce their ability to filter viral particles. The mask should be cleaned after use, due to the uncleanliness of the mask, there can be a risk of many other types of infection. Let us know about the study in detail in the next slides.
What do researchers say?
Researchers say that washing or cleaning the mask does not affect its filtration efficiency. In the study published in the journal Aerosol and Air Quality Research, researchers said that wearing a cotton mask over a surgical mask can provide more protection from the corona. Researchers say this method may be more protective than clothing alone, requiring the mask to fit snugly over the face. The study's lead author, Marina Vance, says cotton masks can be washed and reused multiple times.
increasing medical waste
Significantly, an estimated 7,200 tonnes of medical waste is being generated every day since the start of the corona epidemic. In view of the growing waste of disposable masks, the team of scientists conducted a study to know the level of effectiveness of cotton masks after multiple use and washing. Washing cloth masks repeatedly can lead to the removal of their fibers, so does the effectiveness of the mask decrease? Experts say that this does not affect the filtering ability of the mask, although due to the release of cotton fibers, it can definitely cause breathing problems. In such a situation, it is advisable to change the mask.
The fit of the mask is the most important
Researchers say that the most noticeable thing with the mask is that it must fit snugly on the face. To avoid the danger of corona, all people should use masks that completely cover the face. Previous research suggests that up to 50 percent of airborne particles may be at risk of inhaling through a mask that doesn't fit properly.
Which masks are the best?
Researchers say cloth masks may be less protective than surgical masks. Cotton masks can filter out up to 23 percent of the smallest particle size (0.3 microns), so there is a risk of virus entry. In comparison, surgical masks can filter out between 42-88 percent of smaller particles. Scientists consider KN95 and N95 masks to be the best, their filtration efficiency is considered to be 83-99 percent.
Sources and references:
Aerosol Filtration Testing of Fabrics for Development of Reusable Face Masks