Are You Wearing Your Mask Correctly?

man wearing face mask
Photo by Marcelo Chagas from Pexels

Even if you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you continue to wear a face mask when in public or when around people who have not been vaccinated. This is especially important as we are seeing an increasing number of variants of the novel coronavirus spreading here in the United States. The best way to protect yourself and others is to remain vigilant and that means wearing a face mask. Unfortunately, many people are not doing this correctly and that negates their purpose. A recent CNN Health report offers up some great tips on how to ensure that you are properly wearing your face mask.

First, if you are double masking you want to make sure that both masks fit tightly. A new study found that wearing two loose-fitting masks does not provide the filtration benefit of just one, snug-fitting mask. The extra layers don’t help if the masks have gaps. The best way to double mask is to wear a disposable surgical or medical-grade mask underneath a cloth mask. If you are wearing a KN95 mask you should not double mask.

To ensure your disposable mask fits properly, the CDC recommends knotting the ear loops where they join the edge of the mask and then folding and tucking the unneeded material under the edges. To be sure that you are doing this correctly watch this short video which explains how to do the Knot & Tuck method.

When choosing a fabric mask, look for one that is two- to three-layers of a tightly woven cloth. According to the CNN article, if you can easily see the outline of the individual fibers when you hold the mask up to the light, then it probably won’t be effective. Masks with a nose wire are preferred because they provide a tighter fit.

The CDC offers these three tips to make sure that you are wearing your mask properly:

  • Cup your hands against your face around the outside edges of the mask.
  • Breathe in and out, checking to be sure no air is flowing from the area near your eyes or from the sides of the mask.
  • If the mask has a good fit, you will feel warm air come through the front of the mask and you may be able to see the mask material move in and out with each breath.

Remember, if you are double masking, the disposable mask should be worn underneath the fabric mask. Do not wear two disposable masks. And, last but not least, make sure you are always wearing a clean mask.

The Seniors Trust is committed to improving the lives of seniors by providing important information about COVID-19 and by working to improve Social Security. We urge Congress to pass the Social Security Expansion Act. This landmark piece of legislation will provide bigger monthly Social Security benefits, establish a more accurate cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for seniors, and guarantee the long-term solvency of the Social Security program. 

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