Editor’s note 1/10/2022: If you’re reading this in 2022, experts are no longer recommending cloth masks or DIY masks for protection against the Omicron variant. Check out our more recent mask coverage to learn more about the kind of masks that would be the best fit for your family.
As news of new coronavirus variants becomes better understood, public health officials are calling for additional precautions to be taken in addition to your standard mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing — now, experts recommend double masking or using face mask filters in addition to a cloth mask to optimize the effectiveness of your mask.
In an interview with Today on Monday Dr. Anthony Fauci talked about how and why the extra masks — recommended for use in close-contact areas (grocery stores) or high-risk areas while you’re unvaccinated — can benefit people who are in high-risk areas or closer-contact with other people, as he urged Americans not to take subtle improvements in case numbers for granted or grow “complacent.”
“We don’t want to get complacent and think, ‘Oh, things are going in the right direction, we can pull back a bit,’ because we do have circulating in this country, a variant from the U.K. that’s in over 20 states right now,” Fauci said. Adding, when asked about the rise of double-masking, that “If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 25, 2021
How do I make sure my double mask is working?
Putting the extra layers of a medical disposable mask underneath a multi-layered cloth mask is considered a solid way to make a stronger and more cumbersome barrier for virus particles to reach your nose and mouth and get into your system. Otherwise, you’ll want to follow similar mask-care precautions — make sure your mask covers your nose and your mouth, wash your reusable mask regularly and dispose of your disposable ones and wash your hands before touching your mouth and nose under your mask.
“For a mask to be useful, the wearer should constantly have their mask covering BOTH their nose AND mouth,” Dr. Robert Mordkin is Chief Medical Officer for LetsGetChecked previously told SheKnows. “As a general statement, masks help reduce the risk of infection (including COVID-19) but decreasing the amount of droplets released into the surrounding air when the wearer is talking, coughing or sneezing. The N95 masks, in particular, can filter out both large and small particles or droplets…Countries that have aggressively employed the widespread and consistent use of masks have successfully reduced their rates of community COVID-19 infections.”
Similar to concerns for wearing a face mask brackets, the biggest priority for your safety and the safety of others is to keep the seal around your mouth and nose secure — to make sure you’re getting the most out of your multi-layered mask situation.
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Check out a few of our recommendations for masks useful for doubling up:
Disposable Face Mask, Face Masks of 50 Pack Disposable Mask
Cloth Face Masks Reusable Washable – Adjustable Cotton Masks Printed Face
Nordstrom Facemask Set
This kids face mask gallery is a good place to start shopping!