Forgive me for tooting my own horn, but let’s face facts. I have always considered myself to be a trendsetter, both professionally and personally. And now, something that I’ve actually been practicing since day one of this pandemic is becoming a trend: Double masking.
(Though truthfully, I’ve actually been going out with three masks— two surgical masks, and one cloth mask with a filter on top.)
In fact, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that double masking can slash your risk of coronavirus infection by as much as 96.4 percent.
But the real problem here, at least in my view, is that while we know masks offer significant protection against COVID-19, many people still do not wear them properly—which is what I want to discuss with you today.
Masks need to fit properly
It’s no surprise that everyone in the medical field—myself included—has advocated for mask use. But I’m coming to realize that we have taken for granted how to properly wear a mask, as we were trained. (Obviously, the same can’t be said for the general population.)
And I’m not aware of any high-profile public health campaign to teach us all how to wear masks properly. So today, I’d like to cover two important points…
First, quality filtration matters. This is what helps reduce particle transmission. So, I recommend wearing a mask with a filter—or at the very least, double masking with two quality-made masks. (No bandanas or “neck gaiters”.)
Second, having a good seal on the face is critical—one that covers the nose and goes down below your chin. (Yes, you must cover your nose for any type of protection.) So, you want to pinch the mask around the bridge of your nose to keep that seal secure. (If your glasses fog up, that’s one sign that your seal isn’t as tight as it ought to be.)
There are also little devices called “mask fitters” (also called “mask braces”), which go around your head, on top of your mask, to help create a tighter fit around your face. Research shows these devices can improve mask filtration by as much as 90 percent… possibly even more. (Of course, double masking is an easy way to help create a tighter fit around your face as well.)
Layer on the protection
I realize this may seem like a lot of extra trouble to go through just to ensure proper fit. But considering what’s at stake, there’s no question in my mind that it’s worth it until we have safely put this pandemic to bed.
Even though I’m fully vaccinated now, I still properly wear my masks any time I leave my home. And I encourage you to do the same.
After all, the science is still out as to whether vaccinated individuals can still be asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19. And even though the likelihood of us transmitting it to anyone seems to be slim—we’ll talk more about that on Thursday—the risk is still there.
Not to mention, there are now variants (or “scare-iants,” as I like to call them) circulating. And while I’m still on the fence as to whether they will turn out to be clinically significant, I vow to remain vigilant for myself and others until we know more.
Believe me, I’m sick of wearing (and writing about) masks, too. But we are now in what is hopefully the last stretch of this pandemic—and it’s more important than ever to keep our guard up. And that begins—and ends—with proper mask-wearing. (Whether you wear one, two, or three!)
P.S. I explained the many benefits of wearing a mask in the August 2020 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The easiest way to fight COVID-19”). Including why any covering is better than no covering at all. Subscribers have access to this and a whole lot more in my archives. So if you haven’t already, consider becoming one today. Click here now!
“Trending Clinical Topic: Double Masking.” Medscape Medical News, 02/12/21. reference.medscape.com/viewarticle/945351