The Instant Pot is a single appliance said to do the job of seven kitchen devices and experts have just added one more use – sanitizing N95 masks.
Researchers found respirator masks can be decontaminate in just 50 minutes of dry heat produced by an electric cooker, allowing wearers to safely reuse the face cover.
One cooking cycle at 212 degrees Fahrenheit can disinfect the mask, inside and out, from four different classes of viruses, including the deadly coronavirus that is still plaguing much of the world.
The masks used in the experiment kept their fit and maintained filtration capacity of more than 95 percent, deeming it more effective than ultraviolet light.
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The Instant Pot is a single appliance said to do the job of seven kitchen devices and experts have just added one more use – sanitizing N95 masks. Researchers found respirator masks can be decontaminate in just 50 minutes of dry heat produced by an electric cooker, allowing wearers to safely reuse the face cover
The study was conducted by a team at the University of Illinois that set out to address the severe shortages of N95 masks.
This specific mask protects the wearer against airborne droplets and particles and has become the gold standard for healthcare and essential workers who are risking their lives to save others amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Civil and environmental engineering professor Thanh ‘Helen’ Nguyen said: ‘A cloth mask or surgical mask protects others from droplets the wearer might expel, but a respirator mask protects the wearer by filtering out smaller particles that might carry the virus.’
There are a number of ways to sterilize an N95 mask, but as Vishal Verma, who was involved in the study, noted many of the current methods will ‘destroy the filtration or the fit of an N95 respirator.’
The team notes to safely carry out the method, a towel needs to be placed on the bottom of the cooker and the mask on top to avoid burning the N95. However, multiple masks can be stacked to fit inside the cooker at the same time
‘Any sanitation method would need to decontaminate all surfaces of the respirator, but equally important is maintaining the filtration efficacy and the fit of the respirator to the face of the wearer,’ continued Verma.
‘Otherwise, it will not offer the right protection.’
The two researchers began this study with the idea that dry heat may solve the issue and meet all three criteria: decontamination, filtration and fit.
They also searched for a method that is widely accessible to the public, which turned them to an electric cooker.
They verified that one cooking cycle, which maintains the contents of the cooker at around 212 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes, decontaminated the masks, inside and out, from four different classes of virus, including a coronavirus.
And the team said it was more effective than ultraviolet light.
The next step was testing the filtration and fit.
‘We built a chamber in my aerosol-testing lab specifically to look at the filtration of the N95 respirators, and measured particles going through it,’ Verma said.
‘The respirators maintained their filtration capacity of more than 95 percent and kept their fit, still properly seated on the wearer’s face, even after 20 cycles of decontamination in the electric cooker.’
The team notes to safely carry out the method, a towel needs to be placed on the bottom of the cooker and the mask on top to avoid burning the N95.
However, multiple masks can be stacked to fit inside the cooker at the same time, Nguyen said.
DO FACE MASKS MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND WHAT SHOULD YOU WEAR IF YOU CAN’T GET ONE?
Americans are increasingly being spotted wearing face masks in public amid the coronavirus pandemic, as are people are around the globe.
Soon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may advise all Americans to cover their faces when they leave the house, the Washington Post reported.
The agency is weighing that recommendation after initially telling Americans that they didn’t need to wear masks and that anything other than a high-grade N95 medical mask would do little to prevent infection any way.
FACE MASKS DO HELP PREVENT INFECTION – BUT THEY’RE NOT ALL CREATED EQUAL
Research on how well various types of masks and face coverings varies but, recently, and in light of the pandemic of COVID-19, experts are increasingly leaning toward the notion that something is better than nothing.
A University of Oxford study published on March 30 concluded that surgical masks are just as effective at preventing respiratory infections as N95 masks for doctors, nurses and other health care workers.
It’s too early for their to be reliable data on how well they prevent infection with COVID-19, but the study found the thinner, cheaper masks do work in flu outbreaks.
The difference between surgical or face masks and N95 masks lies in the size of particles that can – and more importantly, can’t – get though the materials.
N95 respirators are made of thick, tightly woven and molded material that fits tightly over the face and can stop 95 percent of all airborne particles, while surgical masks are thinner, fit more loosely, and more porous.
This makes surgical masks much more comfortable to breathe and work in, but less effective at stopping small particles from entering your mouth and nose.
Droplets of saliva and mucous from coughs and sneezes are very small, and viral particles themselves are particularly tiny – in fact, they’re about 20-times smaller than bacteria.
For this reason, a JAMA study published this month still contended that people without symptoms should not wear surgical masks, because there is not proof the gear will protect them from infection – although they may keep people who are coughing and sneezing from infecting others.
But the Oxford analysis of past studies – which has not yet been peer reviewed – found that surgical masks were worth wearing and didn’t provide statistically less protection than N95 for health care workers around flu patients.
However, any face mask is only as good as other health and hygiene practices. Experts universally agree that there’s simply no replacement for thorough, frequent hand-washing for preventing disease transmission.
Some think the masks may also help to ‘train’ people not to touch their faces, while others argue that the unfamiliar garment will just make people do it more, actually raising infection risks.
If the CDC does instruct Americans to wear masks, it could create a second issue: Hospitals already face shortages of masks and other PPE.
WHAT TO USE TO COVER YOUR FACE IF YOU DON’T HAVE A MASK
So the agency may recommend regular citizens use alternatives like cloth masks or bandanas.
‘Homemade masks theoretically could offer some protection if the materials and fit were optimized, but this is uncertain,’ Dr Jeffrey Duchin, a Seattle health official told the Washington Post.
A 2013 study found that next to a surgical mask, a vacuum cleaner bag provided the best material for a homemade mask.
After a vacuum bag, kitchen towels were fairly protective, but uncomfortable. Masks made of T-shirts were very tolerable, but only worked a third as well as surgical mask. The Cambridge University researchers concluded that homemade masks should only be used ‘as a last resort.’
But as the pandemic has spread to more than 164,000 people worldwide, it might be time to consider last resort options.
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Average worker gets ‘career burnout’ at age 32 – and 59% say they do MORE hours working from home
Long hours, extra work and the feeling of having to ‘always be on’ are making people experience career burnout by an early age of 32, a new survey reveals.
Approximately 59 percent of the respondents blamed it on working long of hours, noting the increase started when they transitioned to remote employment due to coronavirus lockdowns – some have worked an extra 59 hours in five months.
Other responses include not taking enough days off, pressure to complete more tasks and just under half of the participants dealing with burnout have quit their job because of the exhaustion.
However, the survey found that those who fall in Generation Z are already worn down because of the ‘always on’ work culture.
Long hours, extra work and the feeling of having to ‘always be on’ are making people experience career burnout by an early age of 32, a new survey reveals
The study, commissioned by The Office Group, asked 2,000 people about their feelings towards work and what factors may play into their exhaustion.
The results show that a majority are burnout – and the average is the young age of 32.
Previous research has shown that the feeling typically starts around 35 and peaks when an individual is in their 50s – but this was before millions of Americans began working from home.
The coronavirus started making its way through the US earlier this year and by April many had transitioned from the office to their homes – and the new survey reveals it has taken a toll on some.
Approximately 58 percent of the respondents blamed it on working long of hours, noting the increase started when they transitioned to remote employment due to coronavirus lockdowns – some have worked an extra 59 hours in five months
Approximately 59 percent of respondents said they are putting in more hours now than before the lockdown and one in three blamed their exhaustion on the stay-at-home protocol, StudyFinds reports.
When asked to give details about why this time has been difficult, 31 percent reported feeling obligated to burn the night oil since their office is now home.
There was also 27 percent who said they miss the socializing with colleagues.
Dr. Sarah Vohra said: ‘With almost a third of people saying lockdown has brought them closer to burnout, there is no question the pandemic has greatly impacted the nation’s collective mental health.’
‘Companies must put defenses in place and guard against elements which might cause stress and anxiety, and looking forward, they must make robust changes to ensure employees are protected, particularly during times of uncertainty.’
Along with working more hours, 39 percent of respondents blamed their exhaustion on not taking enough days off and 47 percent said the feeling stems from always having to be “on” while working.
What may come a surprise to some is that just under half of the participants said they have recently quit their job because they have been battling with burnout.
What are common signs of burnout and how can you treat it?
Burnout is a feeling of complete exhaustion and can make you withdraw from other people and develop a cynical attitude – especially towards your work.
Burnout can cause you to delay tasks that would have once been easy. In severe cases, burnout might make it hard for you to function at all.
When you’ve reached the point of burnout, it’s probably going to take more than a few new holes to fix the issue. You may need to take significant steps to reduce the amount of stress you’re facing and also draw on support from other people, including health professionals.
The Beyond Blue Support Service can help point you in the right direction. For other specific ways to cope with stresses at work, check out our Heads Up website.
You can find support services and advice for healthy ways to cope with stress here.
Source: Beyond Blue
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Orphaned chimpanzees are found to face lifelong setbacks, study reveals
A new report suggests that chimpanzees who lose their mother can face lifelong setbacks.
Scientists studying chimps in Ivory Coast’s Taї National Park found that male infants who lost their mothers, even as juveniles, had fewer offspring and were less competitive as adults.
Chimpanzees are raised almost exclusively by their mothers and stay with them until they are teenagers, a rarity in the animal world.
The researchers believe that, even when offspring are old enough to take care of basic necessities themselves, their mothers are still teaching them advanced foraging techniques and social skills necessary to thrive.
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A new study suggests orphaned chimpanzees face lifelong setbacks, even if they were juveniles when they lost their mothers. Researchers believe chimps learn advanced foraging techniques and social skills well into their teen years
A team with the Taï Chimpanzee Project and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology kept full demographic records and collected fecal samples to determine paternity on members of three distinct communities for more than 30 years.
They found that male orphans still failed to thrive even if they lost their mother when they were juveniles.
The team, whose work was published in Science Advances, believe mother chimps teach their young valuable lessons into adolescence.
They may know where to find the best food, said lead author Catherine Crockford, ‘and how to use tools to extract hidden and very nutritious foods, like insects, honey and nuts.’
Studying several communities of chimps in Ivory Coast’s Taї National Park for more than 30 years, the scientists found that male orphans had fewer offspring and were less competitive as adults
Access to more nutritious food may be why chimps and other great apes have relatively larger brains than other primates.
WHO’S SMARTER, A CHILD OR A CHIMP?
Most children surpass the intelligence levels of chimpanzees before they reach four years old.
A study conducted by Australian researchers in June 2017 tested children for foresight, which is said to distinguish humans from animals.
The experiment saw researchers drop a grape through the top of a vertical plastic Y-tube.
They then monitored the reactions of a child and chimpanzee in their efforts to grab the grape at the other end, before it hit the floor.
Because there were two possible ways the grape could exit the pipe, researchers looked at the strategies the children and chimpanzees used to predict where the grape would go.
The apes and the two-year-olds only covered a single hole with their hands when tested.
But by four years of age, the children had developed to a level where they knew how to forecast the outcome.
They covered the holes with both hands, catching whatever was dropped through every time.
‘Offspring gradually learn these skills through their infant and juvenile years,’ Crockford said.
‘We can speculate that one reason offspring continue to travel and feed close to their mothers every day until they are teenagers, is that watching their mothers helps them to learn.’
Co-author Roman Wittig speculates mothers might be passing on social skills rather than survival tips.
‘Again a bit like humans, chimpanzees live in a complex social world of alliances and competition. It might be that they learn through watching their mothers when to build alliances and when to fight.’
There is good news for orphaned chimps, though.
In January another study from the Planck Institute found more than a dozen orphaned chimpanzees in the Tai Forest had been adopted by unrelated members of their community.
Both males and females devoted large amounts of time and resources to protecting the young, seemingly in a show of chimpanzee altruism.
‘Some adoptions of orphans by unrelated adults lasted for years and imply extensive care towards the orphans,’ Planck Institute researcher Christophe Boesch told Live Science.
‘This includes being permanently associated with the orphan, waiting for it during travel, providing protection in conflicts and sharing food with the orphan.’
Boesch said he was particularly surprised to see males involved in rearing the adopted infants, since parenting is the purview of females.
‘Some of these adult males go really far in adopting a motherly role, carrying the baby on their back, sharing a nest, helping babies to climb trees, really caring a lot.’
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Coronavirus: Alarming video reveals virus-laden particles created by singing
Researchers in Australia believe singing, especially in a choir, could spread coronavirus via airborne droplets.
The findings come from a slow-motion video with special LED lighting which shows how otherwise invisible particles shoot from the mouth of a singer.
During an experiment, a person was asked to sing a popular scale and some sounds, such as ‘do’, ‘fa’ and ‘ti’, forced particles out at up to six metres a second (13 mph).
More than half of droplets produced by coughing travel at this speed, or faster, while only 15 per cent of particles created by talking travel at this pace.
Researchers suggest that extra precautions should be taken to mitigate against the extra dangers posed by group singing.
This includes rehearsals with fewer people, wearing face coverings while singing and extreme social distancing.
During an experiment, a person was asked to sing a popular scale and some sounds, such as ‘do’, ‘fa’ and ‘ti’, forced particles out at up to six metres a second (13 mph)
A recent piece of research found the amount of particles produced is the same, but did not account for speed.
This finding led researchers to believe singing was just as risky as talking, but the new research indicates singing poses extra risks.
For example, the quantity of particles produced when singing could saturate the air inside a room, making social distancing pointless.
A study from the university of New South Wales, Sydney, found the majority of particles produced during singing travel at less than 0.5 m/s.
However, they are spewed in all directions and are likely to not settle and drift on air currents.
In a room with air conditioning or a fan this would see the infectious particles stay airborne for long periods of time, travelling vast distances.
For the study, the singer remained at a relatively subdued sound range of between 66 and 72 decibels.
Singing in a choir has been heavily linked to previous superspreader events. Outbreaks at choirs in Berlin, Amsterdam and Washington were so severe that 75.6 per cent, 78.5 per cent and 86.9 per cent of people in attendance tested positive for COVID-19, respectively (stock)
Researchers in Australia believe singing, especially in a choir, could spread coronavirus via airborne droplets. The findings come from a slow-motion video with LED lighting which shows how invisible particles shoot from the mouth of a singer (pictured, diagram of the set-up)
‘It is also worth noting that some degree of variability is expected in the number of droplets expelled between different individuals, and due to other parameters, such as loudness, notes, consonants, and duration of each note sung,’ the researchers say in the study, published today in Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Singing in a choir has been heavily linked to previous superspreader events.
Outbreaks at choirs in Berlin, Amsterdam and Washington were so severe that 75.6 per cent, 78.5 per cent and 86.9 per cent of people in attendance tested positive for COVID-19, respectively.
‘The data presented combined with high infection rate among the choir members points towards the possibility of airborne spread of COVID-19 during singing events,’ the researchers write.
The study is the latest in a string of scientific papers investigating the danger singing poses in regard to the transmission of Covid-19.
Researchers at Lund University, Sweden studied the amount of particles emitted when we sing and found loud and consonant-rich tunes, such as Happy Birthday, spread a lot droplets into the surrounding air.
SAGE WARNED GOVERNMENT ABOUT SINGING DURING CRISIS
The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) earmarked live musical performances and choirs were one of the more risky events for Covid.
This was why music venues, indoor theatres and concerts were the very last amenities to reopen following lockdown.
In a report submitted sometime in June, SAGE said it had reviewed a number of international studies and found evidence to suggest that singing can produce more aerosols, or droplet nuclei, than normal talking or breathing.
Covid-19 is spread through respiratory secretions, which can take the form of large droplets or smaller aerosols.
These are either inhaled directly or transferred by the hands from surfaces where they have been deposited.
The document says that the smaller the particle, the further it can advance into the respiratory tract.
The authors said: ‘There exists some evidence to suggest that singing can produce more aerosols than normal talking or breathing; it may be more akin to a cough.
‘Singing for any appreciable amount of time therefore may present a risk for the creation of infectious aerosols and allow for infection transmission.’
The authors added: ”Therefore, at the present time the safest way for groups to sing together is to i) sing outside, ii) use the 2m rule to socially distance and iii) avoid face-to-face positioning.’
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