Amid the pandemic health experts and scientists across the world have been encouraging people to wear a face mask to get protection against the variants of coronavirus in order to limit its spread. But seeing the cases declining recently many people are seen breaking mask rules and wearing them inappropriately. While some are seen reusing the single-use surgical masks or respirators by cleaning them or spraying with sanitiser. And if you’re one of them then you need to stop doing it immediately.
Recently Australian scientists have warned against spraying face masks with sanitizer as it can reduce their effectiveness, reported Xinhua news agency. A study conducted by a research team from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) found that exposing N95 and P2 face masks to alcohol-based sanitizers causes “serious degradation” of their capability to protect from airborne diseases.
Lead author Jurg Schutz stated that alcohol-based hand sanitizer and cleaning solutions could affect the electrostatic properties of the face masks.
He explained: Disposable masks rely on having an electrostatic charge that attracts particles and traps them like a sticky spiderweb. This charge, however, can be destroyed by highly concentrated alcoholic vapours.
Schutz underscored that their study findings would help inform people on how to care for disposable masks.
Cloth masks or N95 or surgical mask- Which one is more effective against Omicron?
The Omicron variant has left all its predecessors far behind when it comes to spreading. This variant of the COVID-19 is spreading much faster than even the Delta variant. This is why wearing a proper face mask is extremely crucial. According to researchers, the best mask to use still remains the N95 mask.
Medical analyst Dr Leana Wen told CNN that ‘cloth masks are just little more than facial decorations. So it is time to ditch all the cloth masks that you have accumulated over the past couple of months – unless you would like to double them up with a surgical or N95 mask.
Materials like cotton are often used to make cloth masks. Cotton is not known to be protective enough against particles that carry the COVID-19 virus – or in the current situation Omicron. As Omicron is highly infectious, wearing cloth masks may become a problem.
On the other hand, the N95 mask is made of several layers of synthetic material which are capable of capturing around 95 per cent of tiny 0.3-micron particles in the air.