Tips to make sure your mask is effective
Some parts of the country are becoming stricter on mask requirements, so we’re taking a look at how to choose the right face covering for you.
They come in all kinds of colors, styles and fabrics. And with lots of variety in effectiveness, too.
“It is not always one size fits all,” says Dr. Rachel Noble, microbiologist.
It turns out the fit is just one part of what experts say determines how well your mask actually works in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Really, some of the best things that you can do are make sure that the mask fits closely on your face. If the mask is fitting improperly, air is actually being funneled downward and inward in the sides of the mask directly into the nostrils and into the nasal passages. That is exactly what we don’t want,” says Noble.
The material matters, too. The CDC advising all masks should allow for breathing without restriction, fit snugly but comfortably, and include multiple layers of fabric.
“Tightly woven cotton cloth; something approximating the weave of a bandana. Certainly not a looser weave like the material a sweater is made out of. The holes in that type of material are much too large,” says Noble.
Dr. Nobel points out that anything too thick can restrict breathing and she recommends staying away from designs with things like sequins and glitter.
Porous fabric can harbor bacteria more than cloth and can be itchy, which can make you touch your face more.
Experts also say to wash masks at least every day or two.