Last week, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases suggested that spread of the coronavirus could be slowed if people protected themselves by wearing two masks.
The CDC says there are some items in that guidance that should be considered, like the fact not all masks offer the same level of protection. Health officials say people should focus on being “correct and consistent” in their mask use.
To cut through the confusion, the CDC has developed a new list of do’s and don’ts regarding mask-wearing.
What To Do
- Choose a mask with a nose wire. Nose wires can prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask, remember to bend the nose wire over your nose for a better fit, CDC advices.
- Check that your mask fits snugly over your nose, mouth, and chin. To make sure your mask is snug, cup your hands around the outside edges of the mask and check for gaps.
- No air should be flowing from the area around your eyes or from the sides of the mask. If the mask has a good fit, you should 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.
- Add layers of material. According to the CDC, there are two ways to layer: Use a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric. Wear one disposable mask underneath a cloth mask.
Either way, you have the right fit if the second mask pushes the edges of the inner mask against your face.
- Knot the ear loops of a 3-ply face mask where they join the edge of the mask. Fold and tuck the unneeded material under the edges. As this might need some added details, UNC Health has created a video to demonstrates this fold-and-tuck technique. Click here to see the video.
What you should not do
- The CDC does not recommend combining two disposable masks as disposable masks are not designed to fit tightly and wearing more than one will not improve fit.
- Do not combine a KN95 mask with any other mask. CDC says you should only use one KN95 mask at a time.
For more on CDC and mask procedures, click here.