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VIDEO: 3 Tips To Make Your Face Mask More Effective

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Cloth masks do a good job at keeping in large respiratory droplets that can spread a disease like COVID-19 — the kind of droplets you spit out when coughing or talking. That's why in April the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised "the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others."

But there's another possible benefit to wearing a mask: protecting yourself from droplets. But masks, both homemade and made by vendors, vary in how good they are at keeping out pathogens.

If you're looking to boost your mask's ability to filter out small particles, we've got three tips from researchers who've been testing mask materials in light of the pandemic — including a hack that involves a pair of pantyhose.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Maria Godoy is a senior science and health editor and correspondent with NPR News. Her reporting can be heard across NPR's news shows and podcasts. She is also one of the hosts of NPR's Life Kit.
Nick Michael is the Acting Supervising Editor for Video at NPR. He joined NPR in 2014 as the lead video producer for Jazz Night in America, NPR's first program with companion radio and video content. Jazz Night's 2017 portfolio earned a Peabody nomination and a Webby Award for Online Film & Video. Since then, he has co-managed the growth of NPR's award-winning video team, highlights of which include co-crafting the look of NPR's signature interviews with President Obama, leading NPR's experimentation with 360 video and audio and coordinating 22 filmmakers across the country to document 2017's solar eclipse. Before NPR, Michael co-founded 1504, a creative video studio now based in Birmingham, Ala. He earned a masters in photojournalism at the Missouri School of Journalism.