During the COVID-19 pandemic, the most effective way of preventing the spread of disease– aside from isolating at home– was using personal protective equipment (PPE) while interacting with others in public spaces. Most notably, PPE included eye protection, gloves, face shields, and face masks.
Although, N95 respirator masks became the go-to PPE choice used by the public and recommended by both federal and global health agencies.
N95s are made of electrostatic non-woven polypropylene fiber and sometimes feature an optional exhalation valve– which “reduces exhalation resistance and makes it easier to breathe (exhale),” according to the CDC.
And now, even as we move toward a post-COVID era, many community members are still choosing to wear masks in public.
Some opt to mask more during the winter months when waves of not just COVID-19 but also the flu and RSV are more significant.
Others are masking year-round following a heightened fear of germ transmission in high-contact public places. Professionals in a wide range of workplaces are still required to “mask up,” too.
Just recently, though, a new study conducted by researchers at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology has discovered a way to make N95 face masks even more effective at preventing the spread of disease.
Past research has shown that throughout several hours of wear, N95 face masks actually become less effective.
This is due to a build-up of moisture created by the breath of wearers, which makes it more difficult for air to pass through and ultimately increases the amount of pressure inside the face mask.