New CDC Guidelines on Double Masking

by Ariela Paulsen
Mighty Well | Mighty Well Mask | Double Masking

Federal health officials updated the CDC’s COVID-19 masking guidelines yesterday.  They reiterated important steps we can all take — wearing a mask whenever around people outside of our household, washing hands for 20+ seconds after handling used masks, and staying 6+ feet apart whenever possible.  The guidelines also stressed that masks should still be worn even after vaccination, since we do not yet know if vaccinated individuals can spread COVID-19.  Most notably, the new guidelines shared a recent study that shows masks can be 95% effective at reducing transmission, but only if fitted correctly.  

This means reducing gaps where aerosols can go in or out without being filtered by the mask.  

Medical procedure masks are believed to be more effective at filtering aerosols than non-medical cloth masks, but are also prone to large gaps.  The study therefore found that the best solution may be double masking.

what does double masking really mean? 

The best double masking involves a medical procedure mask covered by an additional layer used to keep it snug and gap-free.  This can be a cloth mask, a mask fitter, or even a layer of nylon fabric (ex: a cutting from nylon tights).  The benefit of using a cloth mask, as opposed to a mask fitter or nylon, is that the second mask provides additional filtering of aerosols and droplets.  As explained by Dr. Fauci on CNBC, “Researchers say that wearing a surgical mask underneath a cloth mask provides maximal protection, because the surgical mask acts as a filter and the cloth adds an additional layer and helps with fit.”  

what double masking doesn’t mean

The new CDC guidelines also clarify masking techniques that do not provide additional protection.  Wearing two medical procedure masks is actually not better than one, since the gaps and fit will not improve, and the double layer may cause more of your breathing to move through the gaps.  Double masking with a thick cloth mask that is difficult to breathe through is also not helpful.  The harder it is to breathe, the more air will be forced through whatever gaps are still there.  Similarly, adding a poorly-fitted cloth mask over your surgical mask will not effectively reduce transmission.  The main purpose of the second mask is to provide a more snug and air-tight fit.

The new guidelines also remind us that KN95 masks or multi-layered cloth masks are effective on their own — if they fit well. They stress the importance of nose clips and well-fitted earloops.

For more of the CDC’s updated information, check out Guidance for Wearing Masks, Improve How your Mask Protects You, and Your Guide to Masks.

how does the Mighty Well Mask fit in?

Our Mighty Well Mask is made with two layers of double-knit yarn, a layer of bamboo carbon, multiple sizes, and a nose bridge and form-fitting design intended to eliminate gaps.  Our customers have also loved the breathability of the fabric — a feature that is now proving to be important for more than just comfort, as it prevents air from being forced out the sides.

Whether you choose to use the Mighty Well Mask on its own — as a multi-layered and snug-fitting option — or layered over a medical procedure mask, we’ve got you covered.  With features supported by the new CDC guidelines, plus antimicrobial fabric and a chic look likely to turn heads, you can face the world with confidence!

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