Study reveals ideal usage duration of medical face masks

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

In a paper published by the Journal of Hazardous Materials, researchers from Surrey's renowned Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) explore two key questions: how long a mask should be worn; and when should it be discarded, recycled or washed to optimize its usage time.

Study reveals ideal usage duration of medical face masks
Image Credit: University of Surrey

The GCARE team conducted a comprehensive laboratory investigation on 11 masks, revealing that over time the filters of a face covering start to become clogged by aerosol particles, while breathing resistance also increases as the masks are worn. The crossover point between particle penetration and breathing resistance estimates an ideal usage duration.

Results suggest that although respirator masks provide the best performance (3.2 to 9.5 hours usage time and around 97 per cent effective in protecting against harmful particles), medical and some handmade masks also provide protection but with lower usage time and effectiveness.

The researchers found that medical face masks provide between 2.6 to 7.3 hours of usage time and are around 81 per cent effective against virus-laden particles, and handmade masks are effective for 4 to 8.8 hours and are 47 per cent effective.

It is important to reiterate that while vaccination is key to the fight against Covid-19, face coverings are also essential. Donning a face mask is not only about protecting yourself but all those around you. While any face mask is better than no face mask, our research aims to give the general public clear and accurate information so they can make informed decisions as we continue in our fight against Covid-19."

Prashant Kumar, Study Senior Author and Professor, Associate Dean (International) and Founding Director of GCARE, University of Surrey

Source:
Journal reference:

Sharma, A., et al. (2021) Efficacy of facemasks in mitigating respiratory exposure to submicron aerosols. Journal of Hazardous Materials. doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.126783.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Aging affects immune response and virus dynamics in COVID-19 patients, study finds