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Double Masking Can Improve Protection Against COVID-19

Despite being under another Enhanced Community Quarantine, the Philippines has been experiencing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

Less than a quarter of the Philippine population has been fully vaccinated, and access to vaccines is a continuous challenge.

As of this writing, the Philippines has several vaccines approved for use: Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Gamaleya, Janssen, AstraZeneca, Covaxin, Sinopharm, and CoronaVac.

Recently, a US protein subunit vaccine, Novovax, has applied for FDA approval.

The Delta variant is around 60 percent more transmissible than previous variants. Also, data suggests that it might even cause severe illness compared to earlier strains in unvaccinated persons.

So, whether you are vaccinated or not, you need to raise your standards on protection. One practical and relatively accessible way is double masking.

Mask Efficacy and Handling

Before even going into double masking, make sure that the mask you wear fits properly.

Remember that a mask should completely cover your nose and mouth, and fit snugly against the sides of your face. It should not have any gaps.

An easy way to see if a mask fits well is if no cold breath or moisture comes out from the sides. Also, check if your glasses fog up, that means that you need to readjust your mask.

You should also make sure that the mask you wear is capable of effectively blocking droplets that can infect you.

To test your mask’s efficacy, a candle test is suggested. Simply see if can blow out the flame of a candle with your mask on. If you can, then your mask can’t adequately filter the air.

Masks should be handled correctly — by the ear loops, cords, or head straps, not by holding its surface.

For your protection, make sure you don’t use a damaged mask or spray disinfectant on it which could compromise its protective layer.

Improving Fit and Filtration

The CDC recommends double masking, which means wearing a cloth mask in front of a disposable surgical mask.

Another option is knotting-and-tucking the ear loops of your single surgical mask.

When you do either of the above, exposure to viral particles is reduced by 95 percent. That’s more than double the efficacy compared to the 42 to 44 percent from single surgical masks or single cloth masks.

Andrea Love, PhD, regional manager for biotech company Nexcelom Bioscience, explains that masks are not 100 percent effective in blocking virus carrying droplets, better mask materials and more layers are needed.

Stay Safe, Protected, and Prepared

Apart from double masking, don’t forget to keep applying the necessary safety protocols — even if you are fully vaccinated.

Check out our previous articles below:

Lockdown Checklist: Things to Remember During ECQ

Wellness Lessons We Can Learn from COVID-19 in 2021

How to Prepare for Another Lockdown

We know that the pandemic can make you feel hopeless or jaded.

These are definitely challenging times and people are doing what they can so the world can keep moving forward as we strive to survive this pandemic.

By adopting these doable safety practices, you are helping make the world a safer place for everyone.

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