Medical mask versus cotton mask for preventing respiratory droplet transmission in micro environments

Kin Fai Ho, Lian Yu Lin, Shao Ping Weng, Kai Jen Chuang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to investigate whether cotton mask worn by respiratory infection person could suppress respiratory droplet levels compared to medical mask. We recruited adult volunteers with confirmed influenza and suspected cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to wear medical masks and self-designed triple-layer cotton masks in a regular bedroom and a car with air conditioning. Four 1-hour repeated measurements (two measurements for bedroom the others for car) of particles with a size range of 20–1000 nm measured by number concentrations (NC0.02 1), temperature and relatively humidity, and cough/sneeze counts per hour were conducted for each volunteer. The paired t-tests were used for within-group comparisons in a bedroom and in a car. The results showed that there was no significant difference in NC0.02 1 or cough/sneeze counts between volunteers with medical masks and cotton masks in a bedroom or a car. We concluded that the cotton mask could be a potential substitute for medical mask for respiratory infection person in microenvironment with air conditioning. Healthy people may daily use cotton mask in the community since cotton mask is washable and reusable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139510
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - Sept 15 2020


  • Cotton mask
  • Medical mask
  • Micro environment
  • Respiratory droplet
  • Transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'Medical mask versus cotton mask for preventing respiratory droplet transmission in micro environments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this