Your mask home is it really effective ?

Votre masque maison est-il vraiment efficace ?

Votre masque maison est-il vraiment efficace ?


July 31, 2020 11h53


Your mask home is it really effective ?

SCIENCE IN ITS WORDS / If a surgeon was in an operating room wearing a mask fabricated with a dish towel, it would probably return. This is because all of the equipment to be used for the tasks as serious as a surgical procedure must be tested and certified, to ensure compliance to specific standards.

But in the case of the regulations surrounding the compulsory wearing of a covering face in public transport and places closed, including the shops and restaurants, anyone can manufacture one.

In fact, the question of the quality of the covers-face non-medical underlies recent controversies, and explains why many feel that they are not effective to protect against the COVID-19. Even at the level of language, a distinction is made between the mask (produced, in normal times, according to specific standards) and the cover face (which can be just about anything).

The problem may be there : so that we know what masks as personal protective equipment are effective, a good part of the population does not have access to because of the shortages during the pandemic of the Covid-19 and don’t know how to use it properly.

The debate therefore shifted : instead of wearing a mask to protect others, he carries a cover face for the protection of others. The idea that, even if the effectiveness of the cover-face non-medical is variable, on average, the port reduced the spread of the virus, in the same way as covering the mouth when coughing.

But in view of all kinds of covers-the faces that people wear, how do you know which is the most effective ?

It is necessary to first understand what is meant by efficiency. The virus particles of the coronavirus measure of 0.08 micrometer so that the space between the fibers of a covering-cloth face is 1000 times larger (between 1 and 0.1 mm). So well that efficiency does not mean that the virus is completely trapped. The goal, wearing a mask, is rather to reduce the distance traveled by the expiration.

If you have the Covid-19, it is better to blow it all out on you, or less than one meter away as to eject particles of the virus on to others or on surfaces.

Therefore, a good cover-face is not designed to prevent the wearer from catching the virus. To protect themselves personally against the virus, it would be necessary to equip ourselves with a mask for personal protection such as the N-95 (also known as FFP2). But given the shortage of these facilities, the wear could place the employees health at risk.

Votre masque maison est-il vraiment efficace ?

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If you really want to avoid catching the virus, it is best to avoid crowded places and staying home, do not touch your face, and wash hands frequently.

Two tests easy

If the effectiveness of the cover face to measure their ability to prevent the particles to be propelled too far away from us, how to compare the different design or materials ?

The easiest method, as shown on several social media, is to shoot a masked person in the process of “vaping” : at a simple glance, you will find that these covers-faces do not prevent the breath from escaping. You will see that the steam is directed to the top of his head, before dropping down on his chest and then behind her. The exercise also demonstrates that the expiration, even if it swirls, will not project very far.

By comparison, the vapor of a person vapotant without mask heads especially in front of her and towards the bottom, and traverses a distance significantly larger than with the wearing of a mask.

This year is probably ideal to compare different design and shapes. Is it that the masks that attach around the ears work better than scarves ? Up where a mask should go under the chin ? What is the most effective form around the nose ? How to compare a mask to a protective visor ? We can answer all of these questions by using the test of vaping.

But in making this test, it is important to know that the particles emitted by the vaping are much larger than those of the virus, measuring between 0.1 to 3 micrometers.

Although it is probably correct to assume that smaller particles will travel in the same directions, however, there is a chance that they pass straight ahead through the mask.

In order to see if this occurs, another test, the easy is to ask to a person wearing a mask blow out a candle placed directly in front of it. It then considers the distance and the power of the breath. Then, it will vary the materials with which are made the masks, and the number of layers of fabric.

The mask with which it is most difficult to deflect the flame will be the most effective.

Unless you have sophisticated equipment, it will be more difficult to carry out other tests at home. However, by combining these two tests are easy, you can have a better idea of the masks that are better, if the goal is to avoid contaminating the other.

Attempt to extinguish a candle through different masks.

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This text first appeared on the site of the franco-canadian of The Conversation. Reproduced with permission.

“The science in her words” is a forum where scientists of all disciplines can take the floor, either in open letters, or excerpts from books.

Votre masque maison est-il vraiment efficace ?

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