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Researchers suggest that moisture from masks may reduce the severity of Covid-19

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  • A new study found that face masks can reduce the severity of Covod-19 infections
  • Researchers examined four types of face masks
  • It has been found that the high levels of humidity caused by the mask can limit the spread of the virus into the lungs.

New research published in Biophysics Journal Wearing a mask may help explain why people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, are associated with a reduced severity of the disease. This may be because airway hydration benefits the immune system.

Comparison of different masks

Researchers evaluated four common types of masks: N95 masks, three-layer disposable surgical masks, two-layer cotton-polyester masks, and heavy cotton masks. They measured humidity levels by breathing into sealed steel boxes with or without masks for volunteers.

When a person was not wearing a mask, water vapor from the exhaled air filled the box and the humidity rose rapidly. However, they found that the humidity inside the box was quite low when a person wore a mask. This is because most of the water vapor remained on the mask and was re-inhaled. The mask was firmly attached to the volunteer’s face using high density foam rubber.

Measurements were made at three different temperatures, ranging from 7.7 degrees Celsius to 36.6 degrees Celsius. The results showed that all four masks increased the humidity of the intake air, but at varying levels. At low temperatures, the humidifying effect of all masks was significantly increased. At all temperatures, a thick cotton mask provided the highest levels of humidity.

“The rise in humidity levels is what most mask wearers probably didn’t recognize and felt unaware that this humidity might actually be good for them,” said Adrian, lead author of the study. Dr. Bucks said. Press statement..

Researchers point out that their research is limited in that it has not investigated which masks are most effective against virus inhalation or transmission.

Humidity to fight respiratory viruses

Experts say that high levels of humidity spread the virus into the lungs by promoting mucus and mucous fimbria clearance (MCC), a defense mechanism that removes mucus and potentially harmful particles in the mucus from the lungs. It states that it can be restricted.

They also say that high levels of humidity can strengthen the immune system by producing a special protein called interferon that fights the virus. On the other hand, low levels of humidity have been shown to impair both MCC and interferon responses.

“Face masks have been found to significantly increase the humidity of inspiratory air, and the resulting airway hydration is responsible for the documented findings that link the reduction in severity of Covid-19 disease to wearing masks. Suggests that there may be mitigation shown [the] It is the severity of influenza and may be applicable to the severity of Covid-19 through a similar mechanism, “said Bax.

Read | Simulation-based research reveals how air conditioners diffuse Covid aerosols in restaurant settings

Read | All coronaviruses around the world can fit comfortably in a cola can

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