The use of exhaled nitric oxide and peak expiratory flow to demonstrate improved breathability and antimicrobial properties of novel face mask made with sustainable filter paper and Folium Plectranthii amboinicii oil: additional option for mask shortage during COVID-19 pandemic
Background: Medical face masks are integral personal protective equipment against infectious airborne disease and become scarce during epidemic outbreaks such as COVID-19. A novel, sustainably manufactured face mask with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties from oil of Folium Plectranthii amboinicii can be an effective alternative to internationally sold masks. Methods: This prospective, randomized study assigned subjects (n=67) to either conventional surgical face mask or Lamdong Medical College (LMC) face mask for three hours. Fractional concentration of nitric oxide in exhaled breath (FENO) and peak expiratory flow (PEF) was measured before and after mask use. Subjective reporting on respiratory symptoms was also analyzed. Masks were then incubated and analyzed for microorganism growth. Results: Subjects assigned the LMC mask had a lowered FENO (p<0.05) compared to conventional face masks after mask wearing. Subjects with LMC mask use reported higher comfortability (p<0.05), breathability (p<0.05), and lower allergy symptoms (p<0.05). The LMC mask has visually less microorganism growth in the cultured medium, measured by sterile ring radius. Conclusions: The LMC face mask is a renewably manufactured personal protective tool with antibacterial capacity that can serve as an effective alternative to internationally sold surgical face mask during shortage of mask due to COVID-19.
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