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Learn which masks off the most security and why

Learn which masks off the most security and why
Image copyright UHSFT Image caption Facemasks in use at University Hospital Southampton While paper and cloth masks may help controlling the spread of Covid-19 amongst the general public, they're certainly not up to the mark for use in intensive care.Here, where the risk of infection is at its greatest, medical staff need personal protective equipment…

At the University of Southampton, engineers have developed a mask that they're supplying to University Hospital Southampton.

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UHSFT

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Facemasks in usage at University Healthcare facility Southampton.

Here, where the danger of infection is at its biggest, medical staff requirement individual protective equipment of a far greater requirement, capable of protecting them completely from the virus.

The most basic form of face covering is the surgical mask, typically made of 3 layers of paper or fabric.

” A mask, which goes over your nose and mouth, however does not fit firmly to your face, is truly there to be a barrier for any particles that you may expel,” explains Dr Nikki McCullough, head of security for 3M, one of the world’s greatest suppliers of respiratory defense.

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Getty Images

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Medical staff operating in extensive care need the highest-rated masks.

” When you breathe in, all the air goes through the filter media, and that filter media has been evaluated to a performance requirement,” says Dr McCullough.

Respirators come in various different forms, the easiest being mask-like filtering facepiece (FFP) respirators; some are developed to be disposable, whereas others can be disinfected and recycled.

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In Europe, respirators are classified somewhat differently.

Meanwhile, similar to an FFP3 mask in effectiveness, but certainly not in look, are diving helmet-style powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs).

” There you have a more comprehensive solution.

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Honeywell

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Standard masks do not provide much protection.

The screening procedure involved both an odor test to see whether the user might identify outside smells, as well as a physical test of whether tiny particles are certainly filtered out.

” We put a petri dish inside the hood and another one exterior, and delivered 1,000 litres of air through the filter,” discusses Alex Dickinson, an associate professor in the university’s bioengineering science research study group.

” We bred them for 24 hours at 37 C and then counted how numerous of these colony-forming units had been transferred through the filter and hood.

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Persos

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A mask established by the University of Southampton is under production.

Up until recently, the market for respirators was primarily industrial – manufacturing, building and the like.

” If we look at six months earlier, with full-face respirators – FFP2s and FFP3s – demand from healthcare was really low,” says Dr McCullough.

” We’ve made significant investment in both ramping up capacity at our existing centers as well as new facilities.

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Honeywell

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Honeywell has actually increased production of masks.

Dr McCullough says that 3M is likewise increasing production, adding additional shifts and improving performance.

” We can make the exact same products but faster; we are including new lines and we are looking at some little modifications to specific items, taking a look at brand-new headbands, for instance,” she states.

So will the international supply hold up?

” In the instant term, probably not, sadly – the uptick we’ve seen has actually been unmatched and depending on how individuals are thinking about them as a consumer item, demand far overtakes international supply,” says Mr Hovey.

But, he includes, “We’re having a good discussion with governments around preparing for the future, and we make certain that strategic stockpiles are sufficiently supplied.

” If – god forbid – another scenario like this takes place, jointly we’ll be able to react quickly and successfully.”

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