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5 Tips To Make Your Face Mask More Protective

Feb 12, 2021

As Sedgwick County rolls out vaccines to our populations across multiple phases, many Wichitans await their turn to be vaccinated. While vaccines are critical to ending this pandemic, wearing a mask remains the best defense we have as individuals to protect us from the coronavirus.

New, more infectious variants of the virus have begun appearing in Kansas. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to ensure you are wearing a face-covering that is layered and sealed tightly. Not all masks are created equally, so the CDC has provided 5 helpful tips to make masks more protective.

Use Masks With A Nose Wire

A nose wire is a metal strip along the top of the mask designed to form the mask to fit snugly across the bridge of your nose. Nose wires prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask.

To use properly, bend the nose wire over your nose to fit close to your face.

Use A Mask Fitter Or Brace

Use a mask fitter or brace over a disposable mask or a cloth mask to prevent air from leaking around the edges of the mask. Research suggests that layering a mask brace or fitter on top of a surgical mask can make it nearly as good as an N95, improving filtration by up to 90%.

Here is a video on how to make a simple DIY Mask Brace at home using rubber bands.

Ensure Your Mask Fits Snugly

Check for gaps by cupping your hands around the outside edges of the mask. Make sure no air is flowing from the area near your eyes or from the sides of the mask. If the mask has a good fit, you will feel warm air come through the front of the mask and may be able to see the mask material move in and out with each breath.

Masks that do not fit correctly will have gaps at the top or bottom, or along the sides. That’s why public-health experts advise against using bandanas or scarves as face coverings.

Use The Knot & Tuck Technique

Knot the ear loops of a 3-ply face mask where they join the edge of the mask. Fold and tuck the unneeded material under the edges. This technique helps make your mask fit more snugly.

Here is a video showing you how to do the Knot & Tuck Technique.

Add Layers of Material

You can use a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric or wear one disposable mask underneath a cloth mask. If you layer a disposable mask with a cloth mask, the second mask should push the edges of the inner mask against your face. Make sure you can see and breathe easily.

Do Not Combine Two Disposable Masks

Disposable masks are not designed to fit tightly and wearing more than one will not improve fit.

Do Not Combine an N-95 Mask With Any Other Mask

If you have an M-95 mask, only use one at a time.