by Kimberly Rivers
Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated guidelines for mask wearing to maximize protection that is provided. Each of the guidelines is aimed at preventing respiratory droplets — which can carry the coronavirus — from passing in or out through the mask. The guidelines included a statement that masks should not interfere with vision and the wearer should be able to breathe easily.
A proper fit
First, check for a snug fit. Make sure the sizing and design of the mask prevents gaps around edges and sides that can let air and respiratory droplets pass through. Using a mask with a nose wire allows the mask to be shaped over the nose to prevent gaps at the top of the mask. Check for gaps on sides of the mask by feeling for air flow when you exhale. When wearing a properly fitting mask, you’ll feel warm air coming through the front of the mask, and the mask may move in and out with each breath.
Multiple layers or use filter
The CDC guidelines suggest that when wearing a cloth mask, it should have multiple layers. If the mask has just one layer of fabric, also wear a disposable mask underneath the cloth mask so that the inner mask’s edges are pushed against the wearer’s face.
The CDC clarifies that two disposable masks should not be worn together, and an N95 or KN95 mask also does not need to be doubled up, as those masks have the recommended protection built into their filtration material.
In making its recommendations, the CDC relied on information from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases.
Details online at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/effective-masks.html.