KENT, Ohio (WYTV) – Researchers at Kent State University have been working to find solutions for shortages in personal protective equipment, or PPE. They have been working since the start of the coronavirus pandemic to better understand masks and their proper use.
Their research focuses on the best masks to use, as well as developing 3-D printed masks and debunking myths.
Research has been centered around N-95 masks, which they’ve described as the gold standard of safety.
But the general public probably doesn’t need them for trips to the grocery store. That kind of PPE should be reserved for first responders, front-line workers and medical staff in contact with COVID-19 patients.
“There was a lot of work going around that various materials might replicate N-95, and what we found is that’s not true,” said Rick Ferdig, professor of educational technology at Kent State University. “We couldn’t find homemade material or materials lying around hospitals that could approximate the quality of N-95.”
Even though researchers haven’t found a way to replicate N-95 quality masks, they have discovered materials that work great for the general public to keep us safe.
The CDC recommends double masking, meaning you can wear one face mask with two to three layers that fit snugly to your face. Researchers at Kent State have been studying masks since the start of the pandemic and they have some recommendations of their own.
Sterilization wrap is widely available at hospitals and, according to the researchers at Kent State, it’s even more abundant because of the cancellation of elective surgeries across the county. The material or something similar is available for purchase online
Researchers say one mistake they see a lot of us making is hanging our masks from our rearview mirror after we use them. They say after masks are used they either need to be washed or thrown away — if they’re disposable.
You should only use disposable masks once and reusable cloth masks should be washed after each use. Popping your mask in the dryer is a great step to take to make sure the virus is dead.
Ferdig said he recommends to everyone to “make sure you’re drying it and drying it completely. The heat in a dryer will dry it out enough — the virus lives off moisture. If there’s no moisture, there’s no longer the virus.
Researchers also tell me if you’re struggling with “mask-nce” — acne that comes from wearing a mask — it could be because your mask needs washed more often.