Does wearing two masks offer more protection?
It depends, but doubling may help in some situations.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a sheet mask that consists of two or more layers and making sure it covers your nose and mouth. The agency says it needs to fit snugly so that there aren’t any gaps on the sides of your face.
Wearing a single mask should be sufficient in most situations, as long as it fits well and is not loose, said Dr. David Hamer, an infectious disease expert at Boston University.
“Starting with a good mask to start will be key,” Hamer said.
Nonetheless, some people might want extra protection if they are at risk of serious illness from infection or if they are in situations where they expect to be with others for long periods of time, such as in a hospital setting. plane.
One option in scenarios where you want extra protection is to wear a cloth mask as well as a regular surgical mask, said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.
Gandhi said this combination – with either mask on top – could help achieve a similar effect to the N95 mask. She recommended additional protection for people who will be indoors in areas with high transmission rates – which could reflect the circulation of more contagious variants.
Another option that Gandhi and a colleague recommend for situations where you want “maximum” protection: a two-layer fabric mask with filter material in between.
With single fabric masks for everyday use, Gandhi noted that it was important that they were made of a tightly woven material and that they had at least two layers, which created an “obstacle course” that makes it more difficult for particles carrying viruses to penetrate.
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