Education & Information

Aerosol specialist shares which masks work best to protect kids as they head back to school

Aerosol specialist shares which masks work best to protect kids as they head back to school

As schools start up for the fall across the country, the question of kids and masks looms large. In some states, masks are mandated for all public schools, regardless of vaccination status. In other states, mask mandates are banned. In still others, the decision is left up to local leaders, with perspectives on what is right and safe falling across the spectrum.

Such uncertainty and inconsistency have left parents reeling, especially with the highly contagious Delta variant surging, millions of kids too young to be vaccinated yet, and drastically differing opinions on whether kids should mask up in the classroom.

The evidence for universal masking preventing viral spread is quite deep and wide at this point, but concerned parents may be looking for more specific guidance. Which masks are best for kids? And where do I even start trying to figure that out?

Thankfully, there's a guy who has answers to those questions.

Aaron Collins is a mechanical engineer who wrote his Master's thesis on the science of aerosols—tiny particles in the air from things like smoke or viruses—and worked for years developing instruments to measure and describe them. During the peak of the pandemic, he built an aerosol lab in his bathroom to test which masks are most effective at preventing aerosol spread and has been meticulously recording the results of his tests ever since.

He has collected his data in a Google doc that anyone can access and shares his findings in YouTube videos. According to his FAQ, this is the goal of the project:

  • Identify both highly protective masks, and suppliers that have quality controls in place so that there is a high confidence that products sold meet these requirements.
  • Test and identify as many high quality protective masks as possible.
  • Help explain the complex discussion about masks, provide context to the different types and test standards
  • Provide a transparent data collection and data analysis so people can see what is happening, the limitations of my test.
  • Be completely independent from a mask supplier or source. Independent reviews is the most important thing, I want no bias!

In one of his most recent videos, Collins shared what kid masks he recommends if you're looking for high filtration masks. (High filtration masks protect the wearer in addition to protecting those around them.) Check it out:

Current Top Mask Picks & Kids Maskswww.youtube.com

You can read his FAQ here for more information about how he analyses the masks. Also, check out the Google spreadsheet with all of his data and links to where you can find these masks here.

As COVID cases increase and kids start congregating in classrooms, the question of protection is only going to grow more important. Getting ahead of the spread with effective masks is one way families can ease some of the concern as well as (hopefully) protect us all from worsening variants in the coming months.

A Korean mother and her son

A recently posted story on Reddit shows a mother confidently standing up for her family after being bullied by a teacher for her culture. Reddit user Flowergardens0 posted the story to the AITA forum, where people ask whether they are wrong in a specific situation.

Over 5,600 people commented on the story, and an overwhelming majority thought the mother was right. Here’s what went down:

“I (34F) have a (5M) son who attends preschool. A few hours after I picked him up from school today, I got a phone call from his teacher,” Flowergardens0 wrote. “She made absolutely no effort to sound kind when she, in an extremely rude and annoyed tone, told me to stop packing my son such ‘disgusting and inappropriate’ lunches."

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Photo by Egor Vikhrev on Unsplash

Let's talk about what makes people read articles.

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A new study seems to reinforce this idea. And much to our surprise, it's centered on headlines used in Upworthy stories.

Using a public archive of Upworthy headlines and traffic data from 2012 to 2015, two separate teams of researchers analyzed whether people's click tendencies changed with negative or positive words in headlines. In those olden days of Upworthy, a handful of headlines for a single story were tested on the website to see which one would receive the most clicks. The research teams analyzed those results and found that negative words in headlines led to more people clicking on a story (2.3% more), and positive words in headlines led to fewer clicks (1.0% fewer). They also found a preference for headlines that express sadness over those that express joy, fear or anger.

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Sorry, Labradors. After 31 years, America has a new favorite dog.

The American Kennel Club has crowned a new favorite.

via Pixabay

A sad-looking Labrador Retriever

The sweet-faced, loveable Labrador Retriever is no longer America’s favorite dog breed. The breed best known for having a heart of gold has been replaced by the smaller, more urban-friendly French Bulldog.

According to the American Kennel Club, for the past 31 years, the Labrador Retriever was America’s favorite dog, but it was eclipsed in 2022 by the Frenchie. The rankings are based on nearly 716,500 dogs newly registered in 2022, of which about 1 in 7 were Frenchies. Around 108,000 French Bulldogs were recorded in the U.S. in 2022, surpassing Labrador Retrievers by over 21,000.

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Samantha Moriá Reynolds's advice on sick children.

It's cold and flu seasons, folks. During this time of year, we're all on a mission to avoid the demon viruses that threaten to invade our bodies and wage Armageddon on our immune systems.

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A doctor specializing in child development shares 5 of her most surprising parenting tips

"How To Discipline Your Child So They Actually Learn" is one of her more popular videos.

via drkristynsommer / TikTok

Parenting is the most important job that most people will ever have in life. Your decisions as a parent will be some of the most important determining factors in whether your child becomes a happy and productive adult or not. It's a huge responsibility.

Parenting is a difficult and important undertaking, but many parents simply repeat the same strategies used by their parents. How often do we hear people rationalize their decisions by saying, "That's what my parents did and I came out ok."

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Pop Culture

Woman was mocked online for calling an $80 purse a 'luxury item.' Her response went viral.

"I'm so grateful that my dad was able to get me one. He worked so hard for that money.”


Zoe Gabriel, showing off her new purse from Charles & Keith

Insults of any kind are painful, but jabs towards someone’s financial status are their own breed.

In January 2023, Singapore-based Zoe Gabriel was on the receiving end of this particular flavor of mockery when she posted a TikTok about a purse from local retail brand Charles & Keith—a gift bought for her by her father.

In her excitement, the 17-year-old called the bag, which costs around $80, a “luxury” item as she unwrapped it. Her excitement was sadly cut short by some of the negative comments she received.

One comment seemed to stand out above the rest and prompted Gabriel to post an emotional response video.

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