2 masks for COVID

Many important people are now using 2 masks against COVID. Should you?


You may have noticed that the new US president, Joe Biden, has been wearing not one, but two masks in public. Other US notables have changed to two masks, including coaches of top American football teams, such as Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots. Why two masks? Is this something you should consider?

In a word, yes, particularly in higher risk situations.

COVID is mutating

If you haven’t read about the new, more dangerous variants of the COVID19 virus, you will. They were first found in Britain, South Africa, and Brazil, and have since spread to other countries. Viruses mutate, and unfortunately, the COVID-19 virus is mutating in a way that makes it more transmissible, and perhaps, more deadly. Let’s talk about what we can do in face of this unfortunate development. 

Masks proven to work

While some people dispute the value of using masks to decrease the chance you will spread, or contract COVID, the public health world is united. Multiple studies over the past year show that masks do work. Some studies were done “accidentally”, such as the “barber study”. This hair cutter was infected without knowing it, and worked on many clients, none of whom contracted the virus. The key was that masks were always used in his shop. 

Other studies have been done nationwide, or in the US, in various states that did or did not have mask mandate laws in force. The states with mandatory masking had lower COVID rates, and if these laws were relaxed, COVID transmission increased. Then mask rules were again enforced, and rates again dropped. There is no doubt masks are effective.

Masks need an upgrade

Masks help but they are not perfect, and the reason many people have started to use 2 masks is that they want better protection with this more dangerous version of COVID coming into the scene. Two masks give better protection than one mask because this makes it physically more difficult for the virus particles to navigate through the multiple (probably at least 4) layers when 2 masks are used. It is believed that with double-masking, a person may approach the efficiency of the top-of-the line N95 mask preferred by medical professionals on the front lines. 

How to use 2 masks

While there is no accepted “correct” way to use 2 masks, the most common advice is to put on a slightly looser mask first, then a tighter mask second. This second mask closes any gaps at the sides and seals the looser mask to the face. Both masks should be tight weave masks. One good way to use 2 masks is to first put on one of the disposable standard medical masks (used in surgeries, preferably with a flexible nasal strip to keep it on your nose), then put a two-layer cloth mask on top. 

See what works for you

The main idea is that both masks should have at least 2 layers, and neither mask should have “vents” which can release virus into the air around you. Most people prefer masks with ear loops, but actually the ones that tie behind the neck and the back of the head tend to give a better seal. You might use an ear-loop style “surgical” mask first, followed by one that ties behind the head. Whatever you do, two masks will be better than one! 

2 masks or 1 depends on situation

One smart strategy is to use 1 mask in low-risk situations, for example, when outside and not close to others. Use 2 masks in higher-risk situations, such as inside a car with other people or in a ride-share service; in public transport; or during inside situations with people from outside your household group. And, by the way, no one is suggesting 3 masks— that is just too inconvenient and may make it hard to breathe. The people who are using 2 masks are not reporting breathing problems, and are more confident that they are being safer for themselves and helping protect the people around them. 

To find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, check out our website: www.Procuramed.com.

See also in ProcuraMed:

You can walk in a healthier way—here is how

How to deal with COVID burnout

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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