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COVID-19 Infographics PPE

Types of face masks

Here is our quick overview to the different types of face masks available.

N95/N100 and FFP2/FFP3 Masks

  • N95/N100 designations are used in the USA and are roughly equivalent to FFP2/FFP3 in the EU.
  • FFP3/N100 masks are the highest rated masks available, and protect the wearer from aerosols and droplets at concentrations up to 50X occupational exposure limits (set by health organisations).
  • These are needed and used by medical professionals in direct, frequent contact with patients known to have an infectious respiratory disease.

Surgical Masks

  • Surgical masks protect the wearer in a similar way to N95/FFP2 masks, however they are less effective than these.
  • They will protect the wearer from respiratory droplets which may approach the face, however are fitted less firmly to the face and filter less effectively than an N95.
  • These are being used by medical professionals as a precaution when treating any patient, in case they may also be an asymptomatic carrier in addition to their presenting medical complaint.

Home-made Masks

  • Home-made masks are not regulated or confirmed to protect to any given standard.
  • However, if the majority of people wear a mask of some form, evidence shows a reduction in disease spread.
  • This is particularly important for people who may have asymptomatic infections and not know that they are spreading the virus while out of the house.
  • Any time you are outside the house in an enclosed or crowded space you should wear a face covering if you can – this includes supermarkets and public transport.

Why did the advice change suddenly?


Remember we are forever learning: advice and guidance will evolve as we learn new things.

Previously, home-made masks were not advised, as they are less protective than medical masks and individually do not provide full protection to the wearer.

However, new research is now showing that the limited protection given through reducing droplet spread from the wearer is worth it. In addition, the net gain of everyone wearing one is much greater than just the actions of one single person.

This was a guide on the types of face masks…

COVID-19 Infographics PPE

Do face masks with valves protect others from me?

Do face masks with valves protect others from me? No

😷 Evidence for wearing face masks when in close contact with others is still growing – but make sure to be selective with what you use to protect yourself and others as much as possible!

💨 Masks with a valve that lets air out might feel more comfortable, but they reduce the efficiency of the mask’s protection.

💦 This reduction in efficiency can let respiratory droplets from you fly towards others, risking infecting others if you are infected and don’t have symptoms.

🦠 To protect yourself and those around you, stick to masks without a valve – even homemade cotton masks are effective at stopping droplets!

Check out our previous post on PPE for more info:

Do face masks with valves protect others from me?

How does it work? Infographics

The immune system: an introduction

What makes up my immune system??

Our immune systems can use different approaches to protect us against invaders, but what are these approaches and how do they work?

Here is our simple summary, including:

  • The primary immune response, also known as the innate immune response.
  • The secondary immune response, also known as the adaptive immune response.
  • The cells involved, such as phagocytes, B-cells, antibodies and T-cells
  • What is long term immunity?

First glance or round two?

The first time you are exposed to a disease-causing organism (like a virus or bacterium), your body launches its primary immune response. This response is generic and can be used against any pathogen you come into contact with – a bit like using a citronella candle to keep away all bugs.

The second time you are exposed to that organism, your body has learned about it and can launch a more targeted, secondary immune response on it. Often this means you don’t even get infected or feel unwell – this is more like using a specific anti-mosquito spray.

Phagocytes and the innate immune response

Phagocytes are important cells that are part of the general, first line of defence. These cells sniff out the chemicals left behind by bacteria as they travel through the body, and “eat” the bacteria to destroy them. Very much like an immune system pac-man.

In addition to these cells, the body can also employ methods like a fever – while you do feel poorly, higher body temperatures improve the efficiency of immune cells and may slow down pathogens.

B Cells and Antibodies

B Cells are super important in helping a body remember pathogens you’ve come into contact with before. If you are reinfected with the same pathogen, B cells recognise it from molecules on its surface and warn the rest of the immune system about its presence.

B Cells also produce plasma cells, which in turn release antibodies. Antibodies are specific to one particular pathogen, and fit them like a key to a lock. They are either attached on cells, or flow freely in the blood.

T Cells

T Cells come in two forms: helper cells and killer cells. Helper cells release molecules that help other cells to recognise and track the pathogen around the body. Killer cells track down the cells of your body that are infected with the pathogen and release chemicals to remove those cells to stop further infection and spread.

Long term immunity

Although your body has these cells that remember pathogens you have encountered before, they are not always for life. Some pathogens can mutate to get around the immune memory, and other times your body’s response will dwindle over time.

This is different for each potential infection, and is the reason why people can have the same illness twice, or why some vaccines need booster shots.

Equally, some of the knowledge from one disease can sometimes be applied to related pathogens if they are similar enough. This is known as cross-reactivity and can sometimes mean you get less sick the first time you encounter a pathogen.

Link our infographics? Find more here.

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Infographics The Science Social News

Science News: 14th of July


The news in science this week, as always, curated by Serat @touchthebeardagain ✨ ⁣

🔍 COVID-19 autopsies reveal insight into coronavirus deaths and the role of an individuals immune system ⁣

☠️ Iron Age remains have been discovered following HS2 excavation, the remains are a bit of a mystery!⁣

🧠 End of life patient’s brains respond to sound even in an unconscious state, providing rationale for the observed comfort loved ones voices give ❤️

Would you like to know more about these topics? Or simply join in the conversation about them – get in touch!

Sir Alexander Fleming
A Sip of Science History Infographics

Sir Alexander Fleming: A sip of science history

A Sip of the Past… This week we focus on Sir Alexander Fleming 👨‍🔬. The man who discovered the well known antibiotic, penicillin.

Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928. His discovery allowed for further research, development and purification of penicillin alongside scientists Howard Florey and Ernst Chain. Their collaboration was recognised when they shared the 1945 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and the use of penicillin has since saved millions of lives around the globe.

⏩ Swipe through to find out more about the man behind the breakthrough!

More Science History

COVID-19 Infographics PPE

Lockdown eases, but the virus has not gone away.

Post originally on instagram

So things are opening up again this weekend (4th of July 2020) in the UK. The lockdown eases.

It is everyones individual choice where they wish to go now and what they want to do – if you are looking for ways to reduce risk while going out and seeing friends, here are some science-based suggestions:

Effective hand washing is still extremely important! Make sure you’re washing frequently and efficiently!

 Masks are still growing in evidence for their effect in slowing disease transmission. When you’re in close contact with people outside of your household, consider wearing one as often as you can!

Check out yesterday’s post for how to put on and wear your mask safely!

If possible, meet outdoors! Respiratory droplets have a reduced risk of reaching the people you’re with if you’re outside – a walk or a picnic are good alternatives to a sit-down meal.

Reduce the number of people you see in short spaces of time. By distancing the different groups you see you can reduce the number of potential infections in a social group.

Do you feel ready for when lockdown eases? Let us know your thoughts –

lock down eases
lockdown is easing
The current state of cases
social distancing, hand washing and PPE advice for when lockdown eases
Meet outside when you can
Reduce the number of interactions in short spaces of time
second wave

Infographics The Science Social News

Science News: 1st July 2020


This week’s news in science brought to you by Serat @touchthebeardagain .

👩‍🔬 Scientists have developed a portable 30 minute COVID-19 testing machine

🦠 The 10th Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been declared over.

🧠 University of Liverpool lead a neuro-surveillance study to assess how COVID-19 affects brain function

🍭 Common food additive used in sweets has been found to have adverse effects

For a brief history of Ebola and details on the most recent Ebola outbreak, read our blog post here.

fasciola hepatica worm of the week
Infographics Worm of the Week

Worm of the Week: Fasciola hepatica

Concept by Shannan Summers @Shannan_tropmed, design by The Science Social.

The worm of the week is the good old Liver Fluke, specifically Fasciola hepatica. Worms are a type of parasite that can cause disease in humans and livestock!

Fasciola hepatica is an important zoonotic infection. Zoonotic means in this context means the worm has jumped from a non-human species to a human. 2 million human cases have been estimated worldwide!

Fasciola hepatica worm can be found all over the world, particularly in areas where sheep or cattle are farmed.

There is an acute phase of infection, and a chronic stage of infection. Depending on the phase of infection, the diagnosis differs.

For example, during an acute infection, the immature worms penetrate the gut (after ingestion). The body is able to produce an immune response, resulting in the presence of antibodies against the worms!? The presence of these antibodies are then detectable in a diagnostic test.

During a chronic infection, the worms have matured in the bile duct of the liver. The presence of the infection is detected by examining the faeces for eggs! – A glamorous diagnostic test, for sure!

Fasciola hepatica infections are often treated with antihelmintic drug triclabendazole. This drug works by expelling the worm by either stunning it or killing it. Without harm to the host, such as the human. However, drug resistance is becoming an issue?!

International women in engineering day 2020
Engineering Infographics Women in STEM

International Women in Engineering Day

Now in its 7th year, International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) aims to raise the profile of women engineers and encourage more people to consider engineering as a profession for all!

📊 In studies from 2018, women only made up just over 12% of the engineering workforce and only 25% of girls aged 16-18 would consider a career in engineering. .

👷‍♀️ Here are three influential women engineers from history through to today to get you started! How do you think they helped to “shape the world”? .

Mary Jackson, Gwynne Shotwell and Emily Warren Roebling.

Check out our fresh sip of science history post about Gerty Cori here.

science history
A Sip of Science History Infographics

A sip of science history: Gerty Cori

👨🏽‍🏫 A sip of science history! ⁣Introducing… Gerty Cori!

🔬 Gerty Cori was a pioneering biochemist and America’s first ever female Nobel Prize winner. ⁣

💫 Gerty and her husband Carl Ferdinand Cori, collaborated to define the process of sugar metabolism, known as the Cori Cycle. ⁣

👩🏻‍🔬 Despite her credentials she was denied many of the career opportunities her husband and collaborator was afforded because of her gender. Her contributions to science were eventually recognised, as she gained full professorship just months before her Nobel Prize success. ⁣

Swipe through to read more about Gerty’s story! ⁣