Putting pantyhose on face ‘better at stopping Covid than a mask’, says study

Researchers have found that wearing ladies tights such as pantyhose on your face could reduce the risk of getting Covid, more so than masks.

A major risk identified with commonly worn face masks is that they do not fit tightly enough to block viral particles from being inhaled or exhaled significantly.

Cambridge University researchers have tested seven hacks to improve the fit of masks.

Their new study outlined DIY hacks people have used to make masks fit better, including using rubber bands or tape.

They found the most effective tactic was to wrap pantyhose around the bottom half of the face or on top of a mask.

Researchers have said that this could reduce the number of viral particles by up to seven times more than a loose mask on its own by sealing the gaps around the nose and mouth.

They raised that the social and physical impact of wearing tights on your face in public was "unlikely to be tolerated for an extended period of time".

Tight-fitting medical masks are great at blocking out the virus, but many describe them as uncomfortable.

The study raised that the most common surgical or cloth masks are far less resistant to Covid.

Cambridge researchers recruited four volunteers to try seven different mask hacks – the study looked at both surgical and KN95 masks.

Other methods included tying the ear bands to make the masks fit more tightly or stuffing the gaps with bandages.

Participants did seven minutes of various exercises designed to mimic real-world interactions such as talking, smiling, nodding and eating.

The researchers measured how well the masks fit by monitoring the filtration efficiency and calculating a 'fit factor' score.

Pantyhose and cloth tape were most effective, increasing the fit factor by 27.7 and 14.7.

Surgical masks performed better if worn in combination with pantyhose (7.2) or if the gaps were sealed using cloth tape (4.8).

Rubber bands and tying ear bands (2.5) were the least effective way of getting a surgical mask to fit better but still offered more protection than wearing the mask alone.

Cambridge University's complete study is published in the journal PLOS One.

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