- New Delhi: Wearing face masks became a mandate in various parts of the world, following the widespread of the novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease. Even as vaccination drives have begun in various countries, people are recommended to continue wearing masks, weather or not they have been inoculated yet.
- Some experts have, in fact, even recommended double masking – a practice which is likely to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, even more effectively.
- Various people are seen wearing two masks now, a practice that has now also been backed up by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- According to a recent study conducted by the US CDC, it was found that two masks are actually better at one, in slowing down the spread of the novel coronavirus. For the study, researchers conducted an experiment where they placed two artificial heads 6 feet away from each other and checked how many coronavirus-sized particles released by one, were inhaled by the other.
- They found that wearing one mask, irrespective of the material it was made of, blocked around 40 per cent of these particles. However, when a cloth mask was used over and above a surgical mask, it could block about 80 per cent of these particles.
- Following the results of the study, the US CDC has now issued a recommendation for double masking and has also released guidelines to follow.
US CDC guidelines for double masking to prevent COVID-19 spread
How to wear double masks – The US CDC recommends wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask. This helps the masks fit more snugly, and reduce any gaps which can lead to the coronavirus from entering the nasal passage. A recent study has also said that the fit of the mask is way more important than its material when it comes to blocking the novel coronavirus.
Do not make this mistake – The CDC warns people to not layer two disposable masks on top of each other. Layering two of the same mask over each other will not help improve fit, or improve the efficiency of reducing COVID-19 spread.
Checks for the cloth masks – When using a cloth mask, ensure it fits you properly and snugly near the nose and the mouth. Try to use cloth masks with a nose pin for a better fit. To check if your cloth mask is good enough, hold it against the light to check how dense it is. If it blocks the light, it should be effective. Do not use a cloth or other masks that have a vent or valve, as these can facilitate entry of the coronavirus in and out of the mask.
The CDC also recommends knotting the ear loops of three-ply masks to improve fit. They warn against the use of two surgical masks at once, as it will not help in improving fit. You must also ensure your mask is clean, safely disposed of, and worn at all times.
Even if you wear a face shield, you must still wear a mask. This also holds true for nylon covers, that some people are using over their masks for additional protection. Apart from wearing a mask, other COVID prevention methods such as hand and respiratory hygiene, and social distancing must be followed at all times.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about any medical matter.