Hyderabad: There are many steps that you can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. One of the first steps suggested by health officials is to wear a mask. Amid the battle against Covid-19, healthcare experts are encouraging the use of two face masks, a practice popularly called "double masking".
This, they say, could create a stronger barrier against the deadly disease. Double masking, with cloth and surgical masks, can prevent leakage of air and fit the contours of the face better, studies by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found.
What is double masking?
Double masking is when you layer one mask on top of another. This can have two advantages.
Many types of masks don't fit perfectly on your face. In fact, you've probably noticed that you feel air escaping through the sides of your mask when you breathe in and out.
This imperfect seal cannot only allow respiratory droplets containing the virus to escape your mask, but it can also allow them in. Double masking can help to better prevent this from happening.
When you're wearing two masks, the outer mask can apply gentle pressure to the edges of the inner mask. When this happens, the inner mask fits more closely against your skin and creates a better seal.
SARS-CoV-2 is mainly spread through respiratory droplets that are made when someone has contracted the virus and talks, coughs, or sneezes.
The material in a mask filters respiratory droplets containing the virus before you can inhale them.
Adding a second mask can improve filtration even more. This is because it effectively doubles the layers of material that virus-containing respiratory droplets have to travel through before reaching your face and mouth.
Studies done by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that double masking can reduce your exposure to the COVID-19 virus by up to 95%.
Make sure your mask fits snugly against your face. This is important because a mask that does not fit properly can leak respiratory droplets in and out, making it ineffective. A mask with layers offers better protection, as it creates a stronger barrier for respiratory droplets.
How to double mask
1. Use the proper mask combination. Layering a cloth mask over a surgical mask. Avoid other mask combinations. Cloth masks alone are not recommended, but pairing them with a surgical mask drastically increases the effectiveness. Doing this is very simple, too. First, wear the surgical mask and then the cloth mask on top of it.
2. The second method is to knot the ear loops of a ply surgical mask.
Watch the video below for a step-by-step guide on how to do this:
3. Another important aspect to consider while choosing a face mask is that it should have a nose wire. Good quality surgical masks come with an embedded nose wire on one side. When you wear the mask, push the nose wire so it closes any gaps that may be present. Some other masks come with a metal wire, which offers an even more snug fit.
Some mask combinations may not improve fit or may make it hard to breathe. As such, avoid combinations of the two surgical masks a KN95 and any other type of mask, and an N95 and any other type of mask