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COVID-19: Which face mask is better? Experts weigh in on how long should you wear N95 masks - WION

Source: WION

As per the latest study appearing in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, the face masks help in reducing the distance airborne pathogens could travel, when speaking or coughing, by more than half compared to not wearing a mask. Ever since the coronavirus (COVID-19), scientists and health experts are advocating the usage of face masks to curb the spread of the virus. The new study by researchers at the University of Central Florida offers insight as the effectiveness of face masks has been a debated topic.As Covid cases continue to rise globally due to the Omicron variant, protection against the virus should be the priority.ALSO READ |Covid pandemic benefit? Face masks help people look good, says UK studyAs per the study, without face coverings, droplets/aerosols were detected up to a maximum of 1.

 
25m during speech and up to 1.37m while coughing.The study mentioned that in addition, the use of face coverings was highly effective in reducing the count of expelled aerosols.The coverings made up of cloth reduced maximum axial distances to 0.61m for speech and to 0.67m while coughing respectively.
 
On the other hand, the safe distance was reduced further to 0.15m measured for both emission scenarios while using the disposable face covering.How long should you wear your N95 face masks?As reported by CNN, properly fitted N95 face masks better prevent tiny particles from getting into your nose or mouth as compared to cloth masks. The material that is used to make N95, such as polypropylene fibres, act as both mechanical and electrostatic barriers to shared air.Are N95 face masks reusable? This has been one of the most debated topics during the pandemic so far. The comparative higher price has been one of the reasons for such talks as people use their N95s multiple times. ALSO READ |Boris Johnson's staff accused of hosting Covid rule-breaking parties on the eve of Prince Philip's funeralLinsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech said as quoted by CNN, "I wear mine for a week.
 
" "An N95 mask's material and filtration ability aren't "going to degrade unless you physically rub it or poke holes in it. You'd have to be in really polluted air ...
 
for several days before it lost its ability to filter out particles. So, you can really wear them for a long time," Marr said."People have been talking about 40 hours - I think that's fine. Really, it's going to get gross from your face or the straps will get too loose or maybe break before you're going to lose filtration ability," she added.On the other hand, Erin Bromage, who is an associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, as quoted by CNN, said that the reason why N95 masks are designated as "single-use" is that they're categorised as medical masks.But Bromage added that if a person is safely reusing N95 maks, then one mask can be used for at least two or three days.Are N95s reusable?Both the experts, Marr andhave said that if the mask becomes damp, dirty, bent, creased, it should be replaced.
 
"The longer you wear it, the more it's actually trapping material - which means that the breathability, the resistance of the mask, starts to decrease," Bromage said.How to sanitise N95s?Marr said that the contamination particles will go away over the course of a few to several hours. It can happen faster if the N95s are put aside in sunlight. The CNN report also mentioned that N95 masks have a special static charge that helps filter out viruses and if a person wants to sanitise it, he/she can wash the masks because water will dissipate the charge.