Photo via NBC
Did you know that some countries are revising their face mask guidelines in the fight against COVID-19?
This, after the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that layering two masks over each other can reduce the spread of the virus more effectively.
Researchers said exposure to potentially infectious aerosols decreased by about 95% when a cloth mask was worn over a medical procedure mask, a practice also known as double-masking.
For the study, researchers conducted an experiment where they placed two artificial heads 6 feet away from each other and checked how many coronavirus-sized particles released by one were inhaled by the other.
They found that wearing one mask, irrespective of the material it was made of, blocked around 40 per cent of these particles but when a cloth mask was used over and above a surgical mask, it could block about 80% of these particles.
These are the CDC’s guidelines for double-masking to prevent COVID-19 spread:
- How to wear double masks - The US CDC recommends wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask. This helps the masks fit more snugly, and reduce any gaps which can lead to the coronavirus from entering the nasal passage. A recent study has also said that the fit of the mask is way more important than its material when it comes to blocking the novel coronavirus.
- Do not make this mistake – The CDC warns people to not layer two disposable masks on top of each other. Layering two of the same mask over each other will not help improve fit, or improve the efficiency of reducing COVID-19 spread.
- Checks for the cloth masks – When using a cloth mask, ensure it fits you properly and snugly near the nose and the mouth. Try to use cloth masks with a nose pin for a better fit. To check if your cloth mask is good enough, hold it against the light to check how dense it is. If it blocks the light, it should be effective. Do not use a cloth or other masks that have a vent or valve, as these can facilitate entry of the coronavirus in and out of the mask.
Basically, the point is to ensure the masks fit tightly.
by Kyle Roshen Jacob
The CDC also pointed out that you shouldn’t use two surgical masks at once, as it will not help in improving fit.
In Malaysia, the Health Ministry (MOH) hasn’t said anything about having to double-mask just yet, although some Malaysians have been spotted practising this.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also hasn't officially recommended double-masking as of yet.
Remember, apart from wearing a face mask, please continue to follow other COVID-19 SOPs put in place.
Our fight isn’t over, people!