Of the many types of face masks used, such as cloth masks, surgical masks and N95 masks, the study says that only the last droplets the size of an aerosol can filter.
Using face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 is widely recommended by health professionals. Face masks slow the spread of COVID-19 and help prevent the aftereffects of the deadly virus.
According to a review of studies, the COVID-19 pandemic could be stopped if at least 70 percent of the public were to consistently wear face masks.
The research, published in the journal Physics of Fluids, reviewed studies of face masks and reviewed epidemiological reports as to whether they reduce the number of people an infected person spreads the pathogen to – the virus’s reproduction rate.
“The highly effective face mask, such as surgical masks with an estimated efficacy of about 70 percent, could lead to the eradication of the pandemic if at least 70 percent of residents consistently use such masks in public,” said the scientists, including Sanjay Kumar of the National University of Singapore wrote in the study. “Even less efficient cloth masks can also slow diffusion if worn consistently,” added Kumar.
According to the scientists, an important aspect of facial mask function is the size of liquid droplets expelled from the nose and mouth when someone talks, sings, sneezes, coughs, or even just breathes. They said larger droplets, about 5-10 microns in size, are the most common, adding that smaller droplets less than 5 microns may be more dangerous. In comparison, the scientists said the human hair is about 70 microns in diameter.
Of the many types of face masks in use, such as cloth masks, surgical masks and N95 masks, they said that only the last droplets the size of an aerosol can filter. The performance of face masks that are worn for many hours, such as by healthcare professionals or other essential workers, affects how effective wearing a mask can be, the researchers added. They found that face masks made of hybrid polymer materials could filter particles with high efficiency while also cooling the face because the fibers used in them allow heat to escape from under the mask.
“There could be a relationship between the respiratory resistance and the flow resistance of the face mask, which should be studied for a face mask wearing interval,” said Heow Pueh Lee, another co-author of the study.
“Also, the environmental condition in the compartmental space within the face mask will need to be more accurately quantified using miniaturized sensors and the development of human replicas for such studies,” said Lee. Based on the analysis, the researchers underlined the importance of consistent use of efficient face masks, such as surgical masks.
(With input from agencies)