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Published on February 09, 2021

two masks on white background

Should I Double Up on Masks?

Recent media reports suggest double-masking may better-protect us from new COVID-19 variants.

Trying to decide what to do? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers some updated guidance on masking:

Concerning "double masking," the CDC states you should not combine two disposable masks. Disposable masks are not made to fit tightly and wearing more than one will not improve fit.

You should not combine a KN95 mask with any other mask.

So for these two instances, the CDC's answer is "no" you should not double up on masks.

However, to add layers of material that might add to your protection, the CDC states that you can wear a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask. Or, you can use a cloth mask that has multiple layers of material.

Your mask will work best if it:

  • Fits snugly against your face
  • Has layers that will keep your respiratory droplets in and others' out.

Other tips:

  • Choose a mask with a nose wire - a metal strip along the top of the mask. Bend the wire over your nose so the mask more closely fits your face.
  • A mask-fitter or brace will prevent air from leaking around the edges of your mask.

Wearing a mask, in addition to social distancing and good hand hygiene are important to slow the spread of COVID-19. You should continue to wear a mask even after you get your COVID-19 vaccine, because you may still be able to spread it to others.

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