Professor Ian Swain has published the findings of a home-testing protocol, looking at the effectiveness of face masks in preventing the spread of respiratory infections such as COVID-19.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been much debate in the media on whether masks should be worn to stop the spread of the virus. Professor Swain measured the change in relative humidity when wearing a mask, compared to no mask, in various scenarios, based on the assumption that as the virus is air-borne, the smaller the increase in humidity, the less the spread of the virus. The results suggest that the use of a mask, excluding some simple home-made ones, significantly reduces the spread of humidity. However, their effectiveness is device specific and needs to be considered in greater detail for each type of mask, especially the direction of escaping air when forward flow is blocked.
Prof Swain said:
“At the start of the lockdown I was asked by an Orthotics company if I could think of a way of testing the face masks they planned to make using off-cuts of material from their orthotics products. The results of this work are now published in the Journal of Medical Engineering and Technology.”
The full-text of the article, “Why the mask? The effectiveness of face masks in preventing the spread of respiratory infections such as COVID-19 – a home testing protocol” can be accessed here.