Should You Be Wearing Two Face Masks Instead Of One?

By now, face masks are a common accessory that people wear to protect themselves and others against the dangerous COVID-19 virus. Seeing someone in a face mask is probably not as shocking as it was back in March 2020. But wearing two masks at a time is a new trend that has been gaining popularity over the past few weeks, and experts say that it might be a good idea to try it out.

When COVID-19 first arrived in the U.S., there was a shortage of medical-grade masks that were desperately needed by healthcare workers. At the time, the CDC did not recommend the use of masks for the general public. As the virus infected more people and supply availability became more stable, the CDC changed its guidelines to say that everyone that's able should wear a mask under most circumstances where they will have contact with other people (via CDC). Recently, attendees of the presidential inauguration were seen "double masking", and many people took notice and wondered if they should be doing the same (via Healthline).

Do more masks mean more protection?

Masks have proven to be a critical tool in the efforts to slow and stop the spread of the virus. While they are very effective when used correctly, some scientists are worried about how single masks will fare against the new COVID-19 variants which may spread more easily. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says double masking is probably a good idea and could increase your protection against COVID-19. Although science hasn't given a definite answer yet, experts believe that by adding another layer, you may be decreasing the amount of virus-containing droplets that make it out of your mouth and nose and into the air around you.

However, if your masks do not fit well and leave gaps where air can escape, two masks could actually do more harm than good. It's important to check and make sure that your masks fit snugly against your face, that no air is leaking out from the edges, and that you can still breathe easily. If any of those things aren't true, it's time to find better masks.