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Double Masking 101 | Maxine Mah

The times of bandanas, neck gaiters, and other non-mask masks are over, the new trend taking over San Diego is double masking! Chances are you’ve heard this term floating around as more and more people are wearing multiple masks at a time for extra protection. For a simple definition, double masking is when one wears a surgical mask, whether it be an n-94 or a medical mask, and topping it off with a sewn, cloth mask. The benefits are obvious: the more masks, the more protection you’re getting.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a statement earlier this year about the overall benefits of using two masks, saying that common surgical masks are helpful because they protect against bigger droplets. However they usually do not fit the wearer’s face, making the wearer susceptible to breathing in small, airborne, particles. Knotting the mask at both ends, or crossing the strings is also a great alternative to this, but it can still provide small openings and gaps where a cloth mask wouldn’t. Adding a cloth mask overtop of the surgical one can help promote a tighter fit to the surgical mask so that it can do its job properly, while also adding another layer of protection. According to the CDC, only wearing an ill-fitting surgical mask can protect the wearer from 42 percent of small particles, the cloth mask can only prevent 44 percent. “Double-masking, with a surgical mask and a cloth mask, they found, upped the protection for the wearer significantly, blocking 83 percent of small particles from an unmasked individual,” the CDC reported from a recent study.

And while simply wearing a mask never really goes out of style, especially right now, not only does double masking give wearer’s more protection, it also provides them with a chance to match their mask with their outfit. A cloth mask with no filter is like putting a thin piece of fabric between you and COVID; it’s dangerous to go outside with only one protective barrier. On the other hand, wearing a surgical mask (that probably won’t fit your gorgeous, tiny, face) may be hard for some fashion fanatics trying to match the “surgical-mask-blue” or the “n-95-white” to their OOTD. With double masking you get double the protection and double the likes. Again, wearing a mask in general will never fail to go out of style (hopefully), but there are definitely more benefits than one to wear two.

Hopefully now you’ll be persuaded to join in on the double masking fun and convince your friends to do it as well, because no one wants to be the reason as to why we never go back to “normal.”

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