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The humidity of protective masks may decrease the severity of COVID-19.

Editor: Bolysbek Dana

Author: Tulkibaeva Nursulu

Translator: Tursunova Balkadisha


As we know, in pandemic, we can protect ourselves and others by wearing protective masks. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in their recent study, proved another useful property of masks. According to the researchers, the increased humidity created by wearing masks provides additional protection against virus penetration and stimulates mucociliary clearance (MCC), a local respiratory protection mechanism. In addition to stimulating the MCC, increased humidity promotes the production of interferons (proteins that provide antiviral immunity).

The study tested four common types of masks: the N95 mask, a three-layer disposable surgical mask, a two-layer cotton and polyester mask, and a thick cotton mask. The scientists asked the volunteers to breathe in a sealed steel box, and then measured the humidity level. When a person was without a mask, the water vapor of the exhaled air filled the box, this led to the fact that the humidity level inside increased. When the volunteer performed the same procedure in the mask, most of the water vapor remained in the mask, the moisture condensed and re-inhaled. At all temperatures, the thick cotton mask maintained the maximum humidity level.

"The increased humidity level is something that most mask wearers probably felt, but didn't realize that this humidity could actually be good for them," said Adrian Bax, a distinguished researcher at the National Institutes of Health.