AN online study has shown that homemade masks used to help stop the spread of COVID-19 should be three layers thick to be classed as effective.
According to a case study by online publication Thorax, masks should be ‘a minimum of two layers, preferably three, to prevent dispersion of droplets from the nose and mouth.’
The UK based medical journal researched the effectiveness of different types of homemade mask ideas and fabrics after many global governments recommended their use after widespread shortages of surgical masks.
Spain was one of the worst hit, with the populations going months before adequate numbers of masks were introduced to the population.
As the coronavirus took hold of the country, panic buying led to an unprecedented demand in surgical masks, leaving millions left with no option but to become creative.
Spain’s Minister of Health Salvador Illa issued a statement back in April suggesting that people attempt to cover their face using home made solutions if they did not have access to proper protection.
However these recommendations were given with little or no research carried out on these DIY solutions.
In the study, the effectiveness of a single and double ply cotton mask was compared to a triple layer surgical type mask.
The cotton mask was made using a folded t-shirt and tied using hair bands.
A high speed infra red camera was used to capture the passing on of airborne particles whilst speaking, coughing, and sneezing.
These results were compared to the same material but using two layers sewed together.
They were then compared to a Bao Thach type triple layer mask.
The results showed, unsurprisingly, that the triple layer mask provided the most protection against airborne particles by up to 45% over the alternatives.
The purpose of the research is to properly educate anyone who is in a position to need to create their own mask, and to ensure governments give proper guidelines to ensure their effectiveness.
The study was also used to demonstrate the effectiveness of even a single layer face covering, hoping that it will encourage everybody to wear a mask.
Just yesterday, a group of anti-mask protesters were fined in Malaga for attempting to incite rebellion against the mandatory use of masks in public spaces.