How effective is a homemade cloth face mask for preventing COVID-19?
One of the main benefits of wearing a cloth face mask is that it helps protect others. Remember that people who are asymptomatic or presymptomatic can still transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others when they talk, cough, or sneeze.
Wearing a facial covering helps to contain potentially infectious respiratory droplets. That way, you can prevent unknowingly transmitting the virus to others.
But can a homemade face mask also help prevent you from becoming ill with COVID-19?
Let’s examine this further.
A homemade face mask isn’t as effective as other types of masks
A 2008 Source compared N95 respirators, surgical masks, and homemade face masks. It was found that N95 respirators provided the most protection from aerosols, and homemade masks provided the least.
But a homemade mask is better than none at all
One 2013 Source had 21 participants make a homemade face mask out of a T-shirt. These homemade masks were then compared to surgical masks for their ability to block out bacterial and viral aerosols.
Both types of masks significantly reduced transmission of these aerosols, with surgical masks being more effective.
The researchers concluded that while homemade masks are less effective, wearing one may be more beneficial than wearing none at all.
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