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Bacteria is growing on your mask

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BOCA RATON, Fla. (CBS12) — How much bacteria is on your face mask?

Doctors say after each wear, bacteria from even a healthy wearer’s own respiratory droplets collect on the inside of a mask and could contain airborne pathogens.

Even more, many users choose to reuse the same mask for multiple days without properly sanitizing the cloth.

Doctors agree we should all be wearing PPE.

Doctor Patrick Grant, a microbiologist working at FAU says you should wear a mask but make sure to wash it often as fungus and bacteria can accumulate quickly.

"Masks are really the most effective measure we have right now in preventing the transmission of the coronavirus," said Grant. "So we need to be conscious of what we do with them."

Video taken from under a microscope at FAU shows a wide range of micro-organisms including bacteria, yeast, and fungus.

Grant said, "It's very common that we will eat and then put our mask back on and if we are sweating a little we are creating a really nice soup for this bacteria."

Professor Grant tells CBS12 news, most of the gunk in our masks won't hurt you unless you let it build up. He adds that borrowing somebody else's mask, however, is still a bad idea.

Grant suggests that families refrain from sharing masks, and suggests everyone wash their hands after touching a uses cloth mask.

After working on ways to kill viruses and bacteria, Dr. Grant says UV light has proven to be 99.9 percent effective and is currently producing a product of his own.

"We could fit it in here UV radiates it and in a minute or two we found it kills nearly all bacteria and fungus," said Grant.

The same effects are found to kill other organisms and bacteria found on a dirty mask.

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Despite a build-up of bacteria throughout the day, doctors say it is important to continue wearing masks in public, as face coverings are still a defense against the coronavirus.

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