A new study revealed that condensation inside a face mask may help limit the amount of damage that the Coronavirus can do if a person becomes infected.
It is believed that the increased humidity in the air between a person’s mouth and mask helps the wearer’s body to remove viral particles from the airways.
Experts from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that the moisture caused by the mask moisturizes the respiratory system and allows the infected mucus to be cleaned, which prevents it from reaching the lungs, where it can cause damage and lead to serious cases of “Covid”.
And the National Institutes of Health team proceeded to learn more about previous research, which found that people who wear masks often have less dangerous forms of “Covid-19”.
Dr Adrian Bax, lead author of the new study, said: “It has been proven that high humidity levels reduce the severity of influenza, and it may be applicable to the severity of“ Covid-19 ”through a similar mechanism.
Four masks were tested to see how they affected the level of humidity.
One volunteer exhaled into a 95.3-liter box, while not wearing a mask, an N95 mask, surgical mask, a two-layer cotton and polyester mask, and a heavy cotton mask.
Any leakage around the edges of the mask was eliminated by applying high-density latex foam around the mask and on the volunteer’s face. The water content in the air was measured in each case to reveal how much water the mask was trapping.
The humidity readings were taken at three temperatures: 8 ° C, 22 ° C and 37 ° C.
“The ability of different types of synthetic and natural fibers to absorb water strongly depends on temperature. Natural fibers such as wool, cotton and silk are particularly effective at absorbing water, while synthetic polyester or nylon fibers do so to a much lesser degree,” the authors wrote in the paper. “.
At room temperature, the surgical mask increased the humidity of inhaled air by more than a third (38%), while N95 caps and polyester cotton sheets increased the water content in the inhaled air by up to 60%.
They found that heavy cotton masks doubled the humidity of inhaled air.
Dr. Pax said: “Increasing the level of humidity is something that most mask wearers may feel without being able to recognize it, and without realizing that this moisture may actually be good for them.”
Dr. Griffin Rodgers, Director of the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney System of the National Institutes of Health, added: “Even as more people begin to be vaccinated nationwide, we must remain vigilant about doing our part to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus that causes Covid-19.” This research supports the importance of wearing a mask as a simple and effective way to protect the people around us and to protect ourselves from respiratory infection, especially during these winter months when the susceptibility to infection with these viruses increases.
The full results are published in the Biophysical Journal.
Source: Daily Mail