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Is 3-Ply Face Mask As Effective As Cloth Face Mask?

Is 3-Ply Face Mask As Effective As Cloth Face Mask?

 Researchers affirmed that single-layer cotton cloth face masks are not effective in any way. In a study led by Raina MacIntyre, MBBS, Ph.D., of the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney in Australia, high-speed video capture of droplet emission showed the result when a healthy volunteer coughed, sneezed, and talked while wearing different types of masks. It was discovered that for speaking, a single-layer face mask minimized the spread but a two-layer face mask accomplished improved results.  For sneezing and coughing, a two-layer cloth face mask was better at reducing the droplet spread but a three-ply surgical mask accomplished the best of all for all types of emission. The team of researchers concluded that guidelines on home-made cloth face masks should specify multiple layers at least 3 layers.

Is 3-Ply Face Mask As Effective As Cloth Face Mask?
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The CDC has advised wearing a mask to curtail the spread of the coronavirus and surgical and N95 type masks should be reserved for healthcare settings due to limited supply.  Studies have shown minimal transmission of the virus with the face masks of lower-grade masks and also supported multi-layer versions as more protective. Current research in JAMA showed a downturn in healthcare workers testing positive for Coronavirus after ensuring the absolute masking of patients. CDC management pointed out that it was a timely, practical, and compelling proof that society-wide face covering is an additional means to help manage the coronavirus crisis.

MacIntyre's research made use of the CDC's directions for a single-layer, a quick cut T-shirt face covering, and a two-layer mask following the agency's method for sewing one. The cloth that was made use of was 175 g/m2 cotton fabric with a thread count of 170 TPI, close to what is used in quality T-shirts. Again, one of the difficulties faced with masks as a public health intervention has been getting people to wear them.  Public health advocates and scientists called a national resource to help come up with affordable, comfortable, and reusable, masks that will provide at a minimal level N95-level protection and can also be produced in large quantities. Moreover, a team at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, made some suggestions to bring down the resistance towering of face masks. Emphasis was laid on communicating advantages instead of threats according to Lavanya Vasudevan, Ph.D., MPH, of Duke's Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research.

Is 3-Ply Face Mask As Effective As Cloth Face Mask?
Source: Pexels.com

She stressed further that talking to people about the advantages of mask-wearing, the benefits of vaccinations, is a better approach as people detest being told what to do if something is a way of life in a community, it is more likely to be accepted. Quoting Fitzsimons, ‘There may be a softening in the politicization of mask-wearing, with recent movement across the political spectrum to unify behind a masking strategy. I think we have to be patient’. ‘It will take some time for the political link to dissipate here and for our hope to see the same kind of acceptance of the recommendations that we're seeing in other countries around the world.’

Cloth masks have always been used in healthcare and society at large to safeguard the wearer from respiratory infections. The use of cloth masks during the coronavirus disease pandemic has been debated. The filtration effectiveness of cloth masks is generally lower than that of medical masks and respirators; however, cloth masks may give a level of protection if well- structured and correctly used. Cloth masks made of several layers, made of water-resistant material, structured to fit around the face, has a high thread count and neat weave, may give considerable defence. It is noteworthy that until a cloth mask structure is evident to be equally functional as a medical or N95 mask, wearing cloth masks should not be made compulsory for healthcare workers. In community settings, however, cloth masks may be used to safeguard community transference of infections by sick or asymptomatic persons, and the public should be educated about their correct use.

As a result of the coronavirus disease pandemic, supplies of medical masks and respirators are in short supply the world over.  Medical/surgical masks and respirators are commonly used as a shield against respiratory and other infections. The major variance in these two items is the purposed use. Medical masks are used in both healthcare and communal settings to safeguard from droplet infections and splashes and sprays of blood and body fluids. They are also used to intercept the transmission of infection from sick or asymptomatic persons. Respirators are fit around the face, designed for respiratory security, and used mostly in healthcare settings.

Serious debate about healthcare workers having to reuse or extend the use of disposable products, sterilize their respirator or resort to wearing cloth or other homemade masks. Far back, cloth masks have been used to safeguard healthcare workers and the general public from various respiratory infections. Furthermore, most studies of cloth masks were conducted in vivo and during the first half of the 20th century, before medical masks were developed. According to research, only one randomized controlled trial has been conducted to arrive at the efficacy of cloth masks. During the early years of the 20th century, numerous types of cloth masks (made of gauze, cotton, and other fabrics) were used in hospitals. The degree of respiratory infections among healthcare workers who used masks made of 2–3 layers of gauze was low. Face masks made out of cloth were also used to protect healthcare workers from diphtheria and scarlet fever. In 1918, during the Spanish influenza pandemic, masks made of various layers of cotton were widely used by healthcare workers and the general public. 

 

 


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