Choose carefully when buying a facial mask to protect your self and others.
Sharing one read from the New York Times in my research to develop Tailored West Face Masks;
"While a simple face covering can reduce the spread of coronavirus by blocking outgoing germs from coughs or sneezes of an infected person, experts say there is more variation in how much homemade masks might protect the wearer from incoming germs, depending on the fit and quality of the material used.
Scientists around the country have taken it upon themselves to identify everyday materials that do a better job of filtering microscopic particles. In recent tests, HEPA furnace filters scored well, as did vacuum cleaner bags, layers of 600-count pillowcases and fabric similar to flannel pajamas. Stacked coffee filters had medium scores. Scarves and bandanna material had the lowest scores, but still captured a small percentage of particles.
If you don’t have any of the materials that were tested, a simple light test can help you decide whether a fabric is a good candidate for a mask.
“Hold it up to a bright light,” said Dr. Scott Segal, chairman of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health who recently studied homemade masks. “If light passes really easily through the fibers and you can almost see the fibers, it’s not a good fabric. If it’s a denser weave of thicker material and light doesn’t pass through it as much, that’s the material you want to use.”Researchers say it’s important to remember that lab studies are conducted under perfect conditions with no leaks or gaps in the mask, but the test methods give us a way to compare materials. And while the degree of filtration for some homemade masks seems low, most of us — who are staying home and practicing social distancing in public — don’t need the high level of protection required for medical workers. More important, any face covering is better than none, especially if worn by a person who has the virus but doesn’t know it.
The biggest challenge of choosing a homemade mask material is to find a fabric that is dense enough to capture viral particles, but breathable enough that we can actually wear it. Some items being touted online promise high filtration scores, but the material would be unwearable."
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