Double Masking - Do we really need to “mask on” the “mask”?

The concept of Double Masking for Double Protection seems simple enough, but what is the rationale behind them? What are the pros & cons? How can it be done? Is it worth the extra time, effort, and cost? Or can they be replaced by some other option? Here is a blog to answer all these questions.

Introduction

The World Health Organization (WHO) put in place precautions to counter the spread of the new coronavirus. For this, they encouraged implementing social distancing and wearing masks. However, with the COVID-19 variant like the delta that spreads faster, it is showing signs of becoming more virulent.  The US Centers for Disease Control has issued double mask guidance making it a worthy statement that should be discussed.

What is Double Masking

There are multiple types of protective masks one can choose from such as cloth masks, disposable or surgical masks, N95b masks, etc. Double masking is when you layer one mask on top of another mask.

You may have seen people doing this quite often nowadays while going out in public. What is the science behind it, CDC has recommended double masking to create multi-layer filtration i.e with at least 2-3 layers.

How to do it?

  • If you’d like to try double masking, wear a cloth mask over a surgical mask. The reason being, cloth masks, and surgical masks both have few layers, also they are thin, so they keep breathing easy. 
  • It’s also a good idea to test your double mask at home first to make sure it fits and that your breathing and vision aren’t affected.
  • Identify that there is no leakage. To do so breathe with force and check that 
    • your mask presses in airflow.
    • Your glasses don’t fog up.
    • Your eyes don’t blink.

What to avoid?

  • Avoid any other protective mask combinations other than surgical and cloth masks, as other masks (N95, KN95, medical respirators, etc) already have multiple layer filtration in them. 
  • Also, these combinations with each other will make it hard to breathe and will be very uncomfortable to wear.
  • Avoid masks that don’t completely cover your mouth and nose.
  • The masks are too tight to lose.

“Why” and “why not” to go for double masking?

Double masking is basically using additional layers to make it a protective mask. It can create a tougher barrier that will stop germs and viruses. Also, the mask for the mouth and nose can reduce the contagiousness of any infection. 

While double masking has its benefits, it still can be an uncomfortable thing to try.  It can create a sense of unease by creating a worse fit than one well-fitted mask. Also, it could create a poor seal around your nose and mouth and lower your protection. So before wearing a mask over a mask it’s better to compare both sides.

Is Double masking necessary?

As mentioned above, double masking may not be necessary for every situation. Even if you wear a single mask, you will garner protection from the virusHaving said that, you have to make sure your masks work as well as possible — so when you are using the single mask for mouth and nose be it surgical, reusable, washable, N95, etc.

Always remember a few things, an ideal mask should have a high filtration efficiency against air pathogens like viruses and penetrative particles like PM2.5 and other air contaminants. Also, it should fit comfortably and properly! Loose-fitting, porous, or incorrect usage of masks won't ensure your safety.


We hope you enjoyed our informative blog post about double masking. We are team Kandymask, passionate to provide respiratory protection to you and your loved ones. Kandymask is the only mask in India with tested & certified 99.8% antiviral, 99.7% antibacterial, and 97.1%  particle filtration efficiency. If you have any other questions or concerns about protecting yourself with Kandymask at care@vyomcorp.com. Thank you for reading, we are always excited when one of our posts is able to provide useful information on a topic like this!