Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay

The CDC released a new report Feb. 10 that found double-masking, specifically wearing a surgical mask under a cloth mask, can limit exposure to viral particles. 

“CDC conducted experiments to assess two ways of improving the fit of medical procedure masks: fitting a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask, and knotting the ear loops of a medical procedure mask and then tucking in and flattening the extra material close to the face.”

The report said both modifications “substantially improved source control and reduced wearer exposure.”

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The report finds that double-masking with a surgical mask covered by a cloth mask blocked 83% of small particles from an unmasked individual. The method of “knotting and tucking” a surgical mask reduced a person’s exposure to viral particles by about 65%.

If two people are double-masked, or using the “knotting and tucking” method, exposure to viral particles was cut by more than 95%, according to the study.

This is the first CDC report that breaks down how different masking techniques affect individual people, as well as the people around them. 

Surgical masks have become one of the most common masks used since the pandemic began. The CDC report finds that these may not be as effective, since they don’t closely hug a person’s face. 

The report said other effective alternatives may be mask filters, or fitted nylon masks on top of surgical masks. 

For some Americans, double-masking is not a new technique. Experts believe the double-masking started as a preventative measure, with the concern of new strains of coronavirus.

But for many, double-masking may become the new normal. 

Written ByHaley Weger

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