Family Healthcast: Study shows wearing masks helps prevent spread of virus

Family Healthcast

(WSYR-TV) — We’ve been wearing masks here in New York State for months, but now in places where cases are surging, it is recommended, or mandatory, for the first time.

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University experimented with different materials and styles of non-medical masks comparing bandana style masks with a well-fitted, quilted cotton stitched mask and cone style masks.

Using mannequins, air machines and lasers, researchers mimicked human coughs and sneezes to see which masks were most effective at stopping the spread of droplets.

Bandanas were the least effective; the droplets traveled three feet, seven inches. With a folded cotton handkerchief, they traveled one foot, three inches. And with the cone-style masks, droplets traveled about eight inches.

The stitched quilted cotton mask offered the best protection with the droplets only traveling about 2.5 inches.

Researchers also tested how far droplets traveled with no masks. They found that a cough could travel more than eight feet, noticeable farther than the currently recommended six-feet of social distancing.

The researchers said the guidelines should be updated based on this new information. In the meantime, the lead researcher said seeing is believing. This study provides that wearing the right mask can protect you and others from catching and spreading the virus.

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