We've been wearing masks for nearly a year now since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and there's still some potentially confusing information about face masks. With several new, mutant strains of COVID-19 making their way across the U.S., wearing the right face mask the right way is perhaps more important than ever. Here are 5 ways to make a mask more effective during the pandemic.
Masks should have at least two layers.
The CDC recommends that face masks have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric. Some double-layer masks have a pocket to hold a filter, creating a third layer. Each layer provides additional protection—but make sure that your breathing isn't obstructed!
Mask fit is important.
The CDC recommends that masks:
- Completely cover your nose and mouth
- Fit snugly against the sides of your face with no gaps
- Have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top and fogging glasses
Some masks should be avoided.
The CDC recommends that you not choose masks that:
- Are made of fabric that makes it hard to breathe, such as vinyl
- Have exhalation vales or vents, which allow virus particles to escape
- Are intended for healthcare workers, including N95 respirators
Neck gaiters and bandanas can make an effective mask if worn correctly.
If you're going to wear a neck gaiter as a face mask, the CDC recommends that you choose one that has two layers or fold it to make two layers. The same holds true for a bandana, but be sure that any mask that you fashion meets the CDC's recommendations for how your mask should fit.
Don't substitute cold weather gear for a mask—wear it on top.
During cold weather, wear your scarf, ski mask or balaclava over your mask. These and other similar items should never be substituted for a face mask because they don't offer the protection and fit of a purpose-made face mask.
Until the COVID-19 vaccine is available for everyone who wants it, it is vital that the community continue to protect themselves and their loved ones with the scientifically proven safety measures of wearing a mask, washing hands frequently and socially distancing. Only by continuing to remain vigilant will we be able to save more lives for a healthier tomorrow.
Medical City Healthcare provides comprehensive emergency services across North Texas.
At Medical City Healthcare, we're dedicated to the care and improvement of human life. So, we hope you'll Take Care!