The Union health ministry has released dos and don’ts for double masking to prevent COVID-19. The government has said that the double mask should consist of a surgical mask and a double or triple layered cloth mask. It should be pressed tightly on the nose bridge. Two masks of same kind shouldn’t be used. Further, same shouldn’t be used for two days.
Read on to know more about correct method of double masking.
Two important things to remember while double masking
Make sure your mask fits snugly against your face. Gaps can let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask.
Pick a mask with layers to keep your respiratory droplets in and others’ out. A mask with layers will stop more respiratory droplets getting inside your mask or escaping from your mask if you are sick.
A mask should have a nose wire.
A nose wire is a metal strip along the top of the mask.
Nose wires prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask.
Bend the nose wire over your nose to fit close to your face.
Mask fitter or brace provides better protection
Use a mask fitter or brace over a disposable mask or a cloth mask to prevent air from leaking around the edges of the mask.
Check that it fits snugly over your nose, mouth, and chin. Check for gaps by cupping your hands around the outside edges of the mask.
Make sure no air is flowing from the area near your eyes or from the sides of the mask.
If the mask has a good fit, you will feel warm air come through the front of the mask and may be able to see the mask material move in and out with each breath.
Two ways to layer a mask
Use a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric.
Wear a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask.
The cloth mask should push the edges of the disposable mask against your face.
Make sure you can see and breathe easily.
Certain types of facial hair, like beards, can make mask fitting difficult. People with beards can do one or more of the following:
Shave their beards.
Trim their beards close to the face.
Use a mask fitter or brace.
Wear one disposable mask underneath a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric. The second mask should push the edges of the inner mask snugly against the face and beard.
Don’t do the following things
Combine two disposable masks: Disposable masks are not designed to fit tightly and wearing more than one will not improve fit.
Combine a KN95 or N95 mask with any other mask: Only use one KN95/N95 mask at a time.
What experts say about double masking
“Double masking prevents COVID-19 infection by 85-88%. No need to wear two masks if you are using an N-95 mask. A mask should cover your nose and mouth completely,” said Dr Dhruv Chaudhary, Nodal Officer for COVID-19 at PGIMS Rohtak (Haryana).
(With inputs from Centre for Disease Control and Prevention)