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The newest suggestion for slowing and stopping the unfold of COVID-19: double masking. Dr. Anthony Fauci endorses double masking, the observe of wearing two face masks, as a result of “it just makes common sense,” the chief medical advisor to the president instructed NBC News’ Today

He’s not fallacious. Because layering masks reduces the porosity of your face overlaying, it is extra more likely to do a greater job of defending you from 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) does 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 sluggish the unfold of COVID-19. 

The science behind double masking


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

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Dr. Fauci’s suggestion is available in gentle of latest 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 comprise 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 for those who’re wearing a skinny material face cowl. Even for those who put on surgical masks, which usually have two skinny layers already, you may nonetheless profit from doubling up, Love says.

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

In truth, three layers is basically greatest: A current (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 under.

When to put on two masks 

If you are strolling outdoor and are not in proximity to individuals outdoors of your family, a single masks ought to suffice, Love says. If you intend 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 laborious to breathe? 


Wearing two masks will not impede your oxygen stream.

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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 does 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 will nonetheless be capable to get the oxygen you want and dispel carbon dioxide out of your physique. Two masks may not really feel snug at first, nevertheless it’s nonetheless protected to put on them.

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

How to correctly double-mask


If you have 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 overlaying, however a distinct 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 offers a further layer of safety whereas bettering the match, Love says. If your two masks match nicely, 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 instructed 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 supposed as well being or medical recommendation. Always seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier concerning any questions you will have a couple of medical situation or well being aims.

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