On February 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data to support the effectiveness of double masking, or layering a disposable medical mask underneath a cloth mask. The study found that layering two masks reduces exposure to COVID-19 pathogens by more than 90 percent.
Mask-wearing has long been proven to be one of the most effective ways to protect one’s self from COVID-19. Double-masking is a good solution for individuals who are not healthcare workers and who do not have a 3-ply mask that has a close fit to the face.
When you wear your mask, or masks, keep in mind that
Medical-grade masks have proven effective on their own without an additional layer, but according to the CDC, knotting them and layering “could improve the fit of these masks and reduce the receiver’s exposure to an aerosol of simulated respiratory droplet particles of the size considered most important for transmitting SARS-CoV-2."
“Based on the CDC study, a single layer cloth mask on top of a medical-grade mask may be more effective in filtering out the small respiratory droplets that transmit the virus,” says Laguio-Vila. “More than 90 percent blockage of particles sounds very encouraging.”
In general, the CDC recommends choosing masks that:
And hygiene is key to the effectiveness as well.
“I'd remind people to not forget to discard medical masks once they get visibly soiled or feel gross, and wash the cloth masks regularly,” says Laguio-Vila. “Finding masks with the proper fit is especially important to limit the urges to constantly touch one’s face to adjust.”
For more on masking, visit the CDC’s website.
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