5 do’s and don’ts to improve your face mask’s protection

Credit: WSBTV Videos

Health experts now say you may want to double up on face masks

Credit: WSBTV Videos

Experts advise wearing two masks, but there’s more to it than that

As the coronavirus pandemic drags on and mutant strains pop up across the country, experts have recommended doubling up on masks to protect yourself and others.

It isn’t enough to wear two masks, however. You have to wear the right masks the right ways. Here are some do’s and don’ts from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Do

1. Make sure your mask fits snugly and has a nose wire. You don’t want air or droplets leaking from your mask. A nose wire prevents air from escaping from the top. If your mask came without a metal strip to conform to your nose, you can order some from Amazon.

“If the mask has a good fit, you will feel warm air come through the front of the mask and may be able to see the mask material move in and out with each breath,” the CDC wrote.

One way to improve fit is to “knot and tuck.” Knot the earloops close to the mask’s edge, then tuck the extra material to close any gaps. Here is a video demonstrating the procedure:

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2. Double up if you’re wearing a single layer mask. The CDC recommends wearing a disposable mask beneath a cloth mask.

“The second mask should push the edges of the inner mask against your face,” the CDC wrote.

After experimenting with varying techniques for mask effectiveness, the agency concluded that wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask — along with using a mask filter or wearing a nylon covering over a mask — are effective options to improve mask’s fit and decrease exposure to aerosols that could cause infection, the AJC’s Kiersten Willis wrote.

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Don’t

1. Don’t double up disposable masks. If you’re going to double up, only one should be disposable. These masks do not fit snugly enough to be effective, even if you’re wearing two, the CDC states.

2. Don’t wear any masks with exhalation valves or vents, even if doubling up. These allow droplets in and out, which makes the mask ineffective.

3. Don’t double up if you’re wearing a KN95 mask, the CDC writes. This type of mask is designed to filter 95% of particles and fit snugly to your face, so there is no need to wear two masks.

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