Raleigh, NC (WNCN) – The CDC’s masking guidelines state for the first time that facial coverings protect the wearer as well as those around them.
According to the new guidance, when a person wears two masks, their protection can be significantly improved.
“The most important form of double masking is when both you and the person you are interacting with are wearing masks. First and foremost, it is that everyone needs to be very careful. “I say,” said Dr. Emily Sickbert Bennett, Director of Infection Prevention at UNC Health.
Sickbert-Bennett studied the effects of facial coverings during the pandemic process.
“Aerosol scientists, epidemiologists, and data all make it very clear that wearing a mask prevents infection,” she said.
A new CDC study found that a surgical mask alone provided about 42% protection. Cloth masks can provide about 44% protection.
Wearing a cloth mask over the surgical mask can block 92% of the virus particles.
“The lower medical procedure mask is a good filter material, and the upper cloth helps fill the gaps,” says Sickbert-Bennett.
Very limited research
The guidance is for cloth only on surgical masks.
Sickbert-Bennett recommended sticking to the recommendations.
“We tested what happens when we put two medical procedure masks on top of each other in an aerosol lab and found that there wasn’t really any additional benefit,” said Sickbert-Bennett.
The CDC reported that this was a very limited study. I checked the protection only when the cloth mask was placed on top of the surgical mask and not vice versa.
We also do not consider protection when wearing multiple surgical masks or multiple cloths. They also suggest to people not to combine KN95, a cheaper and more accessible version of N95, with other masks.
Improve what you already have
The CDC recommends the use of mask fitters or braces, as fit is one of the most important attributes. These are accessories that are placed on top of the mask for a snug fit. The CDC said it could help reduce air leaks around the edges of the mask.
The CDC said fitters can improve filtration by up to 90%, regardless of mask material.
If you don’t have access to any of these, you may be able to use an old shoe store.
According to the CDC, fitter or brace alternatives include placing a thin nylon sock material around the neck and pulling it over the mask for a snug fit.
The CDC has recommended a “knot and tack” method to prevent the surgical mask from leaking or incorporating as few virus particles as possible. Watch the video above for a tutorial on how to do this.
- Tie the ear loops of the 3-ply face mask where they will join the edges of the mask
- Fold the unwanted material and push it under the edge
According to the CDC, two people nearby can use this method to get more than 95% protection for both.
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