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Recently news has come out about a more transmissible strain of covid going around. Since it’s so contagious people have been panicking and trying to figure out how to protect themselves. Sure there are people who are wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and practicing social distancing, but even by practicing all three of these, people are still at risk. People still need to get groceries or go to work so they need a way to protect themselves when they go out. The new solution is to either upgrade the mask you’re wearing or to wear two masks at once. Does this solution work though? Well, it turns out it does.

Double masking essentially just adds an extra layer of protection when you go out. Regular masks might not be enough now if you are only wearing one of them, whether that be a disposable mask or a cloth mask. But it turns out that wearing both at the same time works as well as an N95 mask which protects much better than other disposable masks do. This method is especially recommended for indoor places that could put you more at risk for contracting covid, like airplanes or grocery stores. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Anthony Fauci, has even endorsed this method himself. It can also make your disposable masks last longer which is a plus if you want to save money by reusing them.

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It’s not the only option though. If you invest in higher quality masks, such as N95s or two-layer cloth masks, then that should also work well to protect you from covid. Cloth masks should fit tighter on your face so there aren’t any gaps, and be made of tightly woven cloth if you want to find a good cloth mask to use whether you’re double masking or not. You can double mask with a better quality face mask if you want the extra protection, but if you’re stuck with two lower quality face masks then it will still work.

I’ve been double masking for a week now and though it does get hotter than just wearing one mask I haven’t noticed any other differences. As long as you position both masks the right way it should feel comfortable enough to wear two masks at the same time. Aside from the health benefits, I’ve noticed that I feel more comfortable going grocery shopping with my lower quality mask when I wear a disposable one underneath. I have nothing to lose by wearing two masks since they’re easy to breathe in. If it can slow the spread of covid then why not wear two as well? Just make sure you don’t forget to practice social distancing and washing your hands frequently too!

Sources: 1, 2

Hi my name is Elnaz Tahmassebi and I am a Senior at the University of Utah studying International Studies and Health, Society and Policy!