May 20, 2022


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

7 ways to ensure proper COVID-19 mask protection

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week offered new tips on how to make your mask more effective to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

The key, scientists said in a report Wednesday, is to make the masks fit better.

Using a loose medical procedure mask or only a cloth mask blocked only about 40% of particles from a simulated cough in tests. But tighter-fitting masks have the potential to reduce exposure to potentially infectious particles by more than 90%, the CDC said.

“Wearing any type of mask performs significantly better than not wearing a mask. And well-fitting masks provided the greatest performance,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director.

Universal mask wearing is seen as critical to keeping the spread of the coronavirus on a downward trend. More than 1,000 Americans a day are still dying from COVID-19, Walensky said. A report published by the CDC found that states that have imposed mask orders have seen declines in the growth of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations.

“The science is clear. Everyone needs to be wearing a mask when they are in public or when they are in their own home but with people who do not live in their household,” Walensky said. “This is especially true with our ongoing concern about new variants spreading in the United States.”

It’s important, experts say, because even with the rollout of vaccines, masks will be around for a while. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, says people will need to wear masks “for several, several months.”

Here are some ways to improve your mask-wearing strategy:

A regular blue medical mask often has a side gap. To improve the performance of a mask, officials suggest placing a tight-fitting cloth mask over the paper mask.

(U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

1. Double mask

One way to improve masking is to first put on a paper mask — commonly known as a blue surgical mask — and then put on a tight-fitting cloth mask over that, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said this week.

The second mask will cover big gaps that can occur with a paper mask, allowing air to leak around the sides. On the same subject : Riverside County expands COVID-19 vaccines for 65 and older.

Another option is to use a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric, according to the CDC.

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2. Choose a mask with a nose wire

A nose wire is a metal strip at the top of a mask that can be molded to fit the bridge of your nose to prevent air from leaking out the top. To see also : Experts insist COVID-19 outdoor restaurant ban is essential.

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3. Use a ‘mask fitter’ or ‘brace’

There are new devices you can buy that can be placed over a disposable or cloth mask to prevent air from leaking around the edges of the mask. To see also : Congressional leaders are close on coronavirus aid package.

Tips on how improving masking

(U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

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4. Check for a snug fit

Try to make sure air doesn’t flow from the area near your eyes or from the mask’s sides.

“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 says.

5. Knot and tuck the ear loops

Knotting the ear loops of a face mask at the mask’s edge, and folding and tucking excess mask material under the edges, can help improve the fit.

Check out the video instruction below:

VIDEO | 01:50

Pro Tip to help your Earloop Mask Fit More Tightly

In this video, Emily Sickbert-Bennett, PhD, director of Infection Prevention at UNC Hospitals, shows the simple steps to get a tighter fit from your earloop mask.

6. Don’t combine a KN95 mask with another mask

Use only one KN95 mask at a time.

7. Don’t combine two disposable masks

“Disposable masks are not designed to fit tightly, and wearing more than one will not improve fit,” the CDC says.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.