When it comes to protection against the virus, it is important for you to have N95 respirators. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have already had a lot of warnings about making sure that household protection is the first line of defense against the virus. It is necessary that people protect themselves when they go out against all of the elements that can be found in the environment.
However, not every individual can afford to buy the disposable 3M N95 masks, and the manufacturer cannot always comply with the needs of the country, so it is important for individuals to try and get their own supply or make their own supply. With that, studies have shown that there are many individual kinds of cloth materials that can be turned into a mask that will protect N95 masks as well.
The Research Of Cincinnati
A researcher from the University of Cincinnati decided that they need to help the current demand for the personal protective equipment that is in short supply. They studied the common household fabrics that may work for the protection of the individual. Based on the results of the study, the University of Cincinnati found that the best alternative for the N95 mask or the N95 respirator is made of silk. It is made by a hungry little caterpillar resulting in silk.
Silk face masks were found to be comfortable and breathable. It repels moisture which is perfect in fighting the airborne viruses. Silk contains the natural properties that are antiviral, antimicrobial, and antibacterial. These are very important properties that help the individual fight off viruses, kill bacteria and viruses upon contact.
Patrick Guerra, assistant professor of biology in UC’s College of Arts and Sciences, said in an interview with SciTechDaily, explained that there are different kinds of materials and the materials that can capture the virus, they are the following:
- Copper is part of a big craze that is said to repel viruses. Copper is also found in Silk. Silk has copper in it. Those silks in the United States eat mulberry leaves and incorporate copper into the silk.
- Cotton, on the other hand, is said to trap moisture like a sponge. It is less breathable than silk.
- Polyester fabric also does not have the same level of barrier from water and respiratory droplets compared to silk.
Conclusion Of The Study
As a conclusion to the study, the University of Cincinnati concluded that silk performs similarly to the surgical masks that are disposable. When it is used in layers, it has added protection. The great thing about it is that it is also washable and it is able to repel water.
According to Patrick Guerra, in an interview with SciTechDaily, “If you wore layers of silk, it would prevent the droplets from penetrating and from being absorbed. Recent work by other researchers also found that increasing layers of silk improves filtration efficiency. This means that silk material can repel and filter droplets. And this function improves with the number of layers.”
Eventually, it was concluded by the University that silk performs almost the same as surgical masks. The only thing that they want to further focus on is the fact that individuals would need to know how long the virus may stay on the material of silk.
Another study conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago concluded that there are also different filtration efficiencies of common fabrics. Hybrid materials, silk, and cotton materials are the materials that can be used for cloth masks. The aerosol particles that are ten microns in size are said to be captured by layered cloth masks that are made of two materials that will be highly effective.
Experts said that the materials such as silk and chiffon are particularly effective in excluding particles at the size of nanoparticles. The researchers also found an experimental mask may also perform well. Overall, the studies have shown that masks made from cotton with higher thread counts, natural silk, and chiffon performed well in protecting the individual from the aerosol particles.
It is important for individuals to know the reminders of CDC when wearing a mask. The following are some of the reminders that an individual should know:
- Masks may help prevent spread the disease through the process of social distancing;
- Masks will reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
- Masks should not be worn by children under the age of two;
- Masks should not be worn by any person who has trouble breathing or is unable to wear a mask without proper assistance.
- Washing masks through the washing machine should be done with the warmest appropriate water setting;
- When handwashing, it is important for the wearer to use bleach that contains 5.25% to 8.25% sodium hypochlorite, anything beyond that kind of concentration should no longer be used.
- When cleaning the mask, make sure that you have adequate ventilation.
- To dry the mask, the only thing that you need to do is to flat lay the mask and let it hang.
You Can Always Make Your Own
You should always remember that you can always make your own mask. While cloth masks may not offer the same level of protection that you need, there are always other kinds of fabric that you can get other than the N95 masks materials.