Which face mask performs best to prevent droplets?


A new study shows that not all face masks are equally effective in preventing new coronavirus. So, it is essential to know which mask does the best job to stop droplets coming out from people’s mouths.

Recently researchers at Duke University have developed a way to test various types of masks to test the droplets. The researchers relied on a makeshift device consisting of a box, a laser, a lens and a cellphone camera.

Small droplets come out when people talk, so the disease can be spread by talking without coughing or sneezing.

Martin Fischer, a Chemist and Physicist at the Durham, N.C., campus said, “Some face coverings performed much better than others in blocking expelled particles.”

The study shows that N95 masks without valves do the best job, followed by surgical or polypropylene masks. Handmade cotton masks also stop a lot of droplets from normal speech. However, bandanas and neck fleeces like balaclavas did not prevent saliva spray at all.

“This was just a demonstration — more work is required to investigate variations in masks, speakers, and how people wear them,” Fischer said in a university news release.

It demonstrates that businesses and others that are providing masks to employees or patrons could do similar testing, he added.

According to Dr. Eric Westman, an Associate Professor of medicine at Duke, if everyone wore a mask, we could stop up to 99% of these droplets before reaching anyone else.

In the absence of a vaccine or antiviral drug, this is the only proven way to protect yourself and others, Dr. Westman added.

The news has been made based on the report published in the journal ‘Science Advances’.