This is a rapidly developing situation. For the most up-to-date information, check in with your local health officials and resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regularly. You can find a directory of state health departments here. This story will be updated as new information becomes available.
- The CDC’s current recommendations on effective mask-wearing include wearing a mask with multiple layers or wearing one disposable mask underneath a cloth mask. The CDC also states that you should choose a mask or masks that fit snugly to your face.
- The new recommendations come from new research, and experts emphasize that one well-fitted, high-quality mask, such as a KN95, works as well as two well-fitted cloth masks.
- Want to ensure that your mask has the best fit possible? A new video from UNC Health shows a trick that can improve the fit of a mask with ear loops.
It’s been almost a year since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, prompting the United States to implement widespread shutdowns and mask-wearing mandates. While businesses are opening back up, masks are here to stay for the foreseeable future. Not only do masks primarily keep others safe, they can also help keep you healthy.
The CDC recommends wearing one mask with multiple layers or two masks—one disposable mask under a fitted cloth mask—and keeping a distance of at least six feet from others who aren’t in your immediate household, in order to cut down on the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases, such as influenza.
A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that slightly modifying an earloop mask, giving it a tighter fit to the face, can help it become up to 20 percent more effective. The better the fit, the better the filtration.
UNC Health posted a video on its YouTube channel featuring Emily Sickbert-Bennett, Ph.D., director of Infection Prevention at UNC Hospitals, showing this simple trick that can help make earloop masks fit tighter. (Sickbert-Bennett was one of the authors of the recent study on mask effectiveness.)
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This technique improves the fit of a surgical mask, according to the CDC. As shown above, simply knot the ear loops of the mask where they join the edge of the mask, then fold and tuck the unneeded material under the edges.
As Runner’s World previously reported, your runs or workouts should be in areas where you can be alone or maintain at least six feet between yourself and others to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. You should also wear a mask or carry a mask with you in case there is a situation you encounter others and are unable to maintain social distancing.
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