It’s All About The Fit

Double masking increases protection


President Biden double masking. Photo courtesy of The Guardian.

Emma Deeter, Editorial Editor

President Biden recently announced that if a person is fully vaccinated and outdoors they do not need to wear a mask as long as there isn’t a crowd. If there is a crowd, such as an outdoor concert, it is still important to wear a mask. Double masking increases protection against Covid-19 by about 95 percent. Nearly 30 percent of adults in the United States have been vaccinated, but can still contract the disease and spread it to others, so wearing a properly fitting mask is important. 

Kristin Shuman, an infection control practitioner at Fairfield Medical Center, says that wearing well-fitted masks is important, even if it feels like covid isn’t as serious right now.

Kristin Shuman, infection control practitioner at Fairfield Medical Center. Photo courtesy of Shuman.

“With the warmer weather and the decrease of Covid in the community, you may feel like it is ok to not wear your masks as much or to not socially distance yourself from others but the pandemic is not over. Everyone needs to continue to follow the same guidelines that were provided one year ago to keep us moving towards the end of the pandemic, the end of the masks!”

According to Shuman, double masking is a good option when your mask doesn’t fit properly.

“The CDC states that double masking can be more effective if your mask leaves gaps on the sides or frequently slides off of your nose because you have an increased risk for exposure.  If you have these gaps, placing an additional mask on top helps decrease your exposure risk.”

Shuman says that the best way to double mask is to layer a cloth mask on top of a disposable mask.

“The CDC recommends wearing a disposable mask as the bottom layer and then placing a cloth mask on top. If you have a snug fit with one mask that is several layers thick then you do not have to wear a second mask.”

The most important part of mask-wearing is making sure that the mask fits properly. Double masking isn’t the only way to do this, says Shuman.

“The CDC has several examples of how to wear a mask to ensure you have a snug fit, one option is to knot and tuck the ear loops of a 3-ply disposable mask. The knot and tuck method makes the mask form around your face, increases your protection, and also makes the mask more comfortable to wear.”

To learn watch a video on the how knot and tuck method click this link: UNC Health: Pro Tip to Help Your Earloop Mask Fit More Tightly – YouTube.

Double masking is not the only way for students to prevent the spread of Covid, making sure they thoroughly wash their hands is just as important.

“The top two ways to help prevent the spread of Covid is to wear a mask appropriately, and wash your hands after touching surfaces that are touched frequently by others i.e. door handles, handrails, equipment, etc.”, says Shuman. “Other ways to help prevent the spread of Covid is to continue to social distance, especially when indoors.”