Researchers looked at seven different methods that could increase the effectiveness of masks including the use of ladies’ tights, rubber bands and tape
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Wearing ladies’ tights on your face could reduce the risk of catching Covid-19, according to a new study.
Cambridge University researchers tested seven different ways to improve the effectiveness of face masks when it comes to protecting against the virus.
The DIY methods included taping the mask to your face to secure it properly, which was effective but uncomfortable or using rubber bands.
Other hacks included filling the gaps with bandages or tying the strings for a tighter fit.
But the method which showed the most promising results was to wear tights across the bottom half of your face and over your face mask.
Face coverings have been criticized for not fitting tightly enough in order to significantly reduce the viral particles that a person breathes in or out.
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But the researchers said this bizarre new hack could close the gaps around the nose and mouth and lower the amount by up to seven times more than a loose face mask.
They also noted, however, that it was “unlikely to be tolerated for extended periods of time” given the physical and social implications of wearing pantyhose on your face in public.
The study looked at data from four volunteers who tried the seven different methods using both surgical and KN95 masks, MailOnline reports.
While wearing the masks, each of the volunteers did seven minutes of exercises designed to mimic real-life activities such as talking, smiling, bending over, turning their head to the side, nodding and breathing.
The scientists gave them a “fit factor” score based on how well the masks fit according to the filtration efficiency.
They found that better fitting masks have fewer gaps between the edge and the person’s face, meaning that the air is filtered through the mask.
The most effective way of improving the fit of KN95 masks was using tights and cloth tape which increased the fit factor by 27.7 and 14.7 respectively, the findings show.
Using gauze to fill the gaps between the face and the KN95 masks only offered a slight improvement of 2.7 while using it on top of the masks only boosted the fit by 0.8.
Surgical masks worked better if worn with tights, with a score of 7.2, or if the gaps were sealed with cloth tape, scoring 4.2.
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The least effective way of improving their fit was by using rubber bands and tying ear bands with a score of 2.5.
But the attempt was still better than wearing a mask alone.
Despite the positive benefits and the accessibility of the hacks, the team noted that they were uncomfortable overall.
Tights gave the volunteers “high levels of discomfort” and caused problems with speaking while rubber bands put pressure on the ears and face, they found.
Fabric tape was comfortable to wear but not to remove and it could be dislodged over time due to sweat or moving.
The researchers said that the results could help designers improve masks and fitting devices.
Most scientists agree that wearing a face mask makes a limited contribution to curbing the spread of coronavirus among the wider population.
Medical grade masks can be far more resistant than common surgical or cloth masks but they can also be uncomfortable and hard to get hold of.
The findings were published in the journal PLOS One.