The emergence of the novel Covid -19 has made mask-wearing an essential practice in society. But if wearing a mask provides adequate protection, do two masks perform any better?
Some people began double masking to improve their chances of remaining COVID- 19-free, and the trend left us to wonder on the right path.
For months, we knew that face masks protect the wearers and the people around them, and the several layers of purely woven cloth provide better protection than feebler, unbreathable material coverings.
However, this is the first quantitative evidence on double masking, and it confirms the method that everyone from key employees to high-profile politicians has been utilizing.
With new infectious strains of the newer coronavirus spreading across the United States, it is vital to wear a face mask properly and it can be more important than ever to double as we wait for a widely available vaccine.
Why Wear Two Masks?
The CDC research examined typical facial coverings in a laboratory environment to see how well they protect against respiratory particles. They investigated coughing, breathing among pairs of dummies with no masks using surgical masks with tie ear loops and three-fold cloth masks.
The results indicated that it is essential to optimize each mask’s fitness and filtration.
When an infectious dummy coughed, solo cloth masks stopped only 44 % of bacteria from escaping into the air. Similarly, the double masking blocked 93%. Exposure to droplets from an unmasked source was decreased by 65 % with a knotted and tucked surgical mask and 83 % with double surgical masks.
Essentially, double masking adds a filter layer, making it much harder to inhale or spread the drops containing the virus. The same applies to producing a reliable seal around your mouth, cheeks and nose, reducing the amount of unfiltered air from or into your mask.
You seldom know who you are, the infected person or the exposed person when you go to a public room. Better fitting masks and multiple layer masks work surprisingly well in either scenario, especially if you incorporate other vital disease prevention principles, including social distance and hand washing.
Three significant pieces are necessary to correct masking: consistent covering, several layers, and a good fit. They can be instrumental in minimizing the spread of COVID-19, mainly when you use them together.
What Are The Most Effective Face Masks?
To correctly double the mask, lay a homemade face mask over a disposable mask. You don’t need to use two masks. Similarly, Kn95 masks should not be covered with any other mask.
How Do I Ensure That My Surgical Mask Is Fit?
The CDC provided new details on what to look for in a fitting mask. This is what you can prioritize or add when choosing a protective covering.
- Nose wire: this metal strip across your mask helps you create a firm nose seal that prevents unfiltered particles from escaping. There are several masks already with these wires, but you can order adhesive nose wires to connect to your favorite mask.
- Numerous fabric layers: Although the CDC still tells us that two-layer masks are perfect, three-layer masks have shown better effectiveness and efficiency. Look for cloth and disposable masks with at least 3 layers of strongly woven and breathable fabric to keep you on the safe side.
- Fitter: The CDC recommends that every mask be fitted with an external fitter or brace. You can tell whether your mask fits poorly or has too few layers through a few straightforward checks.
One of these ways is to check whether direct sunlight rays are penetrating your mask. If you see your breath stretching about a centimeter from your face on a cold day, that’s a bad sign. And if you wear glasses and fog up, your breath is possibly escaping from the top of your mask.
Fold your mask half; fold the ear loops to the central part of the mask to improve fitness. Then tuck the extra tissue on either side below the knot.
Why And Where Should I Double Mask?
Masking is not the recommendation for everyone as it all depends on your exposure. So if you find yourself in a place with adequate social distance, particularly outside, then your mask can do the trick by itself. Otherwise, double masking is the way to go in a busy, long or indoor situation, as long as you can breathe through your masks the whole day.
Grocery shops, public transport and other public areas are suitable for dual masking purposes. The same thing happens to people in high-risk situations such as hospitals and nursing homes.
Most of all, though, any mask is better than no mask. You should wear something if there’s no mask at all. Suppose you forgot your double mask setting while at the grocery store; ensure that you have at least one mask that fits well and try to remember another next time.
Two face masks do not mean that you stop distancing socially from people outside your home or fail to wash your hands profoundly and regularly. If you wear even three masks and continue other risky behaviors, you will hardly benefit.
The problem lies in quality compared to quantity. You should use two masks only when you can’t find a single high-quality face mask. The additional barrier may sound a good idea, but that extra layer may make it harder for you to breathe and prompt you to pull the mask to grasp for air.
Double masking or filtering may be the new pandemic phenomena, but you don’t have to jump on them only because you’ve seen others do it. It is acknowledged that the most effective mask is either a surgical mask or a two-layered cloth mask.
The mask must cover your nose and mouth completely and match well on the sides of your face leaving no gaps. Don’t wear a vinyl mask or a cloth that makes breathing difficult. The CDC also discourages wearing exhalation valves or vents masks since they help the virus escape.