What’s the Deal with Double Masking?
Wearing a mask (or two) has become a natural part of our daily routine. Until we achieve herd immunity through vaccination, we need to wear masks. And with new and more contagious COVID variants emerging, we need to up our mask game to get the most protection out of our mask. You might have already heard that it’s good to choose a tight fitting mask with a nose wire, and with multiple layers if it’s made of cloth. But now we’re asking the question… should we double mask?
Short answer: It’s all about the fit!
Long answer: There is a lot that goes into choosing the best mask for you. The most important thing is that your (clean) mask fits your face without gaps. This can be accomplished by tying knots in the ear loops of a disposable mask and tucking in the sides to form a tighter “seal.” It can also be done by putting a cloth mask over top of a disposable mask. Basically, doubling-up on your mask is done to help ensure that your mask is closer to your face.
You can also use a “mask fitter” which goes over top of a mask to secure it, or even cover your mask in a cut-off section of nylon stocking so that it clings to your face. All four of these strategies improve COVID protection for both yourself and others. In fact, two people with “knotted and tucked” medical masks reduce the transmission of harmful aerosols by over 95%. The other strategies reduce exposure by over 90%. Visit the CDC’s page on improving mask protection for more info.
Remember, even with your new and improved mask setup, it’s important to still maintain your distance (at least 6 feet apart), avoid crowds, wash hands frequently, and opt for safer, virtual ways to gather for now!