Infrared thermographic evaluation of facemasks
Authors: Ameersing Luximon, Yan Luximon, Ravindra Goonetilleke
Abstract: In the past only health care professionals wore facemasks daily, but in recent times almost all citizens of many countries are expected to wear facemasks to reduce infection at work and in public. Because of SARS and now COVID-19, facemasks have become an essential personal protective equipment to fight against infectious disease. Frequent use of mask has proven to provide significant protection in reducing infections, even though there are complaints about its long-term usage. Although there are many types of masks, the surgical mask and the N95 respirator are the common ones. In this study, the surgical mask and the N95 respirator were compared with a no-mask condition. Results indicated that participants wearing the N95 respirator had the most significant thermal discomfort. The surgical mask was also significantly uncomfortable when compared to the no mask condition. Infrared thermographic results indicated that the heat retained when wearing a mask is higher than without a mask. Results of this study show the importance in mask design to have sufficient protection, comfort and fit.
Keywords: facemask, infrared, product evalution
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