With the second wave of coronavirus infection having hit the country, there is a certain sense of renewed panic among people, on what best they can do to stay safe, and keep people around them safe, too.
One of the most basic things that people can do is to stay at home. Doctors advise that if staying put is not an option, people must wear masks whenever they step out, as this is non-negotiable. But while one mask can protect people, can two masks secure them?
‘Double-masking’ is a trend that has been going on for a few months now. And Dr Kirti Sabnis, infectious disease specialist at Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, shares with indianexpress.com that double masking enhances protection from the virus, and “cuts down the prospects of transmitting and catching the virus”. “According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, if everyone double-masked, the COVID exposure can be reduced by 96.4 per cent,” she says.
But what is double masking?
“When a person wears one mask on top of another, it is termed as ‘double masking’. The outer mask can apply gentle pressure to the edges of the inner mask and create a better seal. As the virus is spread through respiratory droplets, layers of a mask can help increase its filtration, and also provide protection if someone around you sneezes or coughs,” the doctor explains.
How and when to wear the double mask?
Dr Sabnis advises that one can consider wearing a double mask when venturing out in crowded places like airports, bus stands and while using public/local transport to work, etc.
* One cloth mask on top of a surgical mask or two cloth masks, or one cloth mask on a 3ply mask is an ideal combination.
* A face shield, along with a mask can be used at extremely-crowded places.
* If one is using an N95 mask, avoid double masking.
* Double masks for children are avoidable.
Dos of masking:
1. Wash the cloth mask daily in hot water.
2. Wear a mask properly — covering the nose, mouth and the chin.
3. Avoid sharing masks between family members.
4. After removing any mask, sanitize your hands thoroughly.
5. Throw a disposable mask in a covered bin.
6. Change your mask and wear a new one at frequent intervals.
7. Follow social distancing while wearing a mask.
Don’ts of masking
1. Don’t put your mask around the neck or chin.
2. Don’t wear wet masks.
3. Don’t touch the mask often.
4. Do not remove the mask while speaking.
5. Do not remove the mask if you have to sneeze.
6. Don’t put a mask on a child younger than two years of age.