With the several states relaxing their lock-down rules, staying guarded with masks is now well and truly the way forward. Of course, this is alongside continuous hand-washing and other hygienic measure prescribed for personal safety.
Back to face masks, if you are bothered that your cloth mask won’t be so useful in keeping out the virus and other germs, you should see this simple hack.
Boost the effectiveness of your mask
Cutting up a pair of nylon pantyhose and wearing it over your face mask could boost the mask’s ability to keep out harmful fluids and particles just the way a medical-grade surgical mask, according to Loretta Fernandez and her partner who are both professors of civil and environmental engineering at Northeastern University.
That is to say, if you’ve got an Ankara mask or one made of any other fabric, all you have to do is wear the material over or beneath the fabric of your mask and your safety goes up a significant notch.
The researcher tells American news channel, NPR, that the nylon layer created a tighter seal across the face, reducing the air and droplets that were able to enter through the side.
According to the Fernandez, this is how best to go about creating this:
1. Buy a queen-size pair of pantyhose, since it’s easier to breathe through this size.
2. Cut out a ring between 8 and 10 inches in length from the leg.
3. When you need to mask up, put your cloth mask on first, then put the ring of nylon on your head like a headband and slowly pull it over your mask, creating a tight fit on the face.
Care of the pantyhose
It would be sensible to wash with each wear, just as you would, your cloth mask. It is unknown how many times you would have to wear the pantyhose before it becomes completely ineffective.
How your protection increases with this hack
Adding the nylon layer improved the performance of a DIY mask by between 15% and 50%. When worn on 3M surgical masks, they were able to block 90% of particles. (The N95 respirator mask—which is currently in short supply around the world—blocks at least 95% of small particles when worn properly.)
NPR consulted with several scientists who all said it was a promising line of research.