Researchers at Duke University have made stunning discoveries after testing 14 different types of face masks to determine which ones are the best for use.
The research found out that N95 masks used by health workers were the most efficient in preventing viruses and bacteria from entering the body through the nose and mouth by blocking the transmission of respiratory droplets during regular speech.
Three-layer surgical masks and cotton masks also did good in preventing droplets from escaping during speech or sneezing.
Bandannas and knitted face coverings were discovered to be of little good in trapping droplets even though they could be very fancy and fashionable.
The least effective, however, were neck fleeces, or neck gaiters often used by runners as it allowed more respiratory droplets to escape through them. They could break down larger respiratory droplets into much smaller particles allowing them to escape through the sides.
Scientists say that it is better not to wear a face mask than to wear neck fleeces or neck gaiters.
“We were extremely surprised to find that the number of particles measured with the fleece actually exceeded the number of particles measured without wearing any mask,” Martin Fischer, one of the study’s authors said during the launch of the research findings.
“We want to emphasize that we really encourage people to wear masks, but we want them to wear masks that actually work,” he added.
Someone wearing a face mask was made to speak in the direction of a laser beam and the number of respiratory droplets that escape through the mask was counted by a camera.
A computer algorithm then counts the droplets as recorded by the cameras to determine the number of droplets that escaped through the masks.
Martin Fischer, highly recommended the use of homemade cotton saying that it works well in preventing majority of respiratory droplets from escaping during speech.
He said, “This is a very powerful visual tool to raise awareness that very simple masks, like these homemade cotton masks, do really well to stop the majority of these respiratory droplets.”
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