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For essentially the most up-to-date information and details about the coronavirus pandemic, go to the WHO web site.

Two masks are higher than one. The new steerage for slowing the unfold of COVID-19 is to double masks. First, Dr. Anthony Fauci endorsed it as a result of “it just makes common sense,” the chief medical adviser to the president informed NBC News’ Today. Now, the CDC recommends the identical.

According to findings from a CDC examine, wearing a material masks on high of a surgical masks helps enhance the match of the surgical masks. The closer-fitting the masks is your face, the less gaps there are between the masks and your face the place respiratory droplets carrying the coronavirus can enter. The examine discovered that, “The receiver’s exposure was maximally reduced (>95%) when the source and receiver were fitted with modified medical procedure masks. These laboratory-based experiments highlight the importance of good fit to optimize mask performance.”

Because layering masks reduces the porosity of your face protecting, it is also extra prone to do a greater job of defending you from these infectious respiratory droplets — similar to layering jackets protects you from the chilly and simply as an N95 (which is much less porous) has a greater shot at defending you from environmental smoke, whereas a material masks (extra porous) would not stand an opportunity. 

It’s not nearly widespread sense, although. The idea of double masking is backed by some scientific research, and no, wearing two masks will not suffocate you. Here’s what to learn about wearing two masks to gradual the unfold of COVID-19. 

The science behind double masking

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Layering masks may assist scale back the transmission of infectious particles.


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Dr. Fauci’s advice is available in gentle of recent strains of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which might be considered extra transmissible than the first pressure of SARS-CoV-2. 

“With a more transmissible virus, that means every exposure has increased likelihood of leading to spread,” says Andrea Love, an immunologist and microbiologist. “We must be more stringent with our behaviors now, including social distancing, minimizing trips to public places, avoiding indoor spaces and always wearing a mask.”

“But, not just any mask will do,” Love emphasizes. “Quality matters.”

Masks work by trapping and blocking respiratory droplets that include virus particles, Love explains. “The more physical barriers implemented, the more of these droplets you can block, thereby reducing the risk to yourself and others around you,” she says. Ideally, the extra layers the higher, particularly should you’re wearing a skinny material face cowl. Even should you put on surgical masks, which usually have two skinny layers already, you may nonetheless profit from doubling up, Love says.


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It’s vital to grasp that material masks, like those worn routinely by most individuals, had been meant to be a stopgap measure, Love says. Many material face covers provide little to no safety, she says, relying on the fabric, variety of layers and match, which is why well being specialists advocate layering. 

In truth, three layers is actually greatest: A latest (not but peer-reviewed) examine examined 11 masks supplies and located that masks are extra protecting after they have three layers, two tightly woven material layers with a nonwoven, high-efficiency filter materials sandwiched in between. If you do not have already got a masks with three layers, you may mimic this by wearing a material masks and a surgical masks — extra about that’s beneath.

When to put on two masks 

If you are strolling outdoor and are not in proximity to folks exterior of your family, a single masks ought to suffice, Love says. If you propose to be close to individuals who aren’t in your family, nevertheless, even outdoor, “a simple solution is to double-mask.” 

Will wearing two masks make it arduous to breathe? 

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Wearing two masks will not impede your oxygen movement.


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Wearing two masks should not make it any more durable to breathe, Love says. Several research have demonstrated that wearing masks would not impede oxygen consumption (even in adults over 65). “The size of an oxygen molecule is orders of magnitude smaller than the pore sizes of masks,” Love says, however the issue is “many people don’t realize the difference between discomfort and a true physiological effect.”

Even with two face masks, you may nonetheless be capable to get the oxygen you want and dispel carbon dioxide out of your physique. Two masks won’t really feel snug at first, but it surely’s nonetheless protected to put on them.

Sure, it could take some getting used to, particularly should you put on two masks whereas exercising. You could get sweatier than normal because the climate warms up. But just a little discomfort is quite a bit higher than contracting COVID-19 or being accountable for spreading it. 

How to correctly double masks

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If you’ve got a number of material face covers at dwelling, merely put on two. 


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Simply wearing one material masks on high of one other may enhance the protectiveness of your face protecting, however a unique mixture could assist extra. 

If you put on a material masks on high of a surgical masks, you may mimic the filter-cloth combo discovered to be extra protecting in research. The surgical masks acts as a filter and the fabric masks gives a further layer of safety whereas enhancing the match, Love says. If your two masks match properly, this mix “should produce an overall efficiency of over 90% for particles 1 micron and larger, which corresponds to the average size of respiratory aerosols that are most important in mediating transmission of SARS-CoV-2.”

Like Dr. Fauci informed Today, “If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective.”

The info contained on this article is for academic and informational functions solely and isn’t meant as well being or medical recommendation. Always seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier relating to any questions you’ll have a few medical situation or well being goals.

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