Are 2 masks better than 1 at preventing Covid-19 spread?

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah advised the public to wear double masks and face shields in high risk places as they could provide more protection against the Covid-19 Delta variant infection.

Should you be double masking? And if so, how can you do it safely? Continue reading to find out more.

Why we recommend double-masking and face shields?

  • Face Shields Provide an outer protective layer against droplets and foreign particles

  • Double-masking Eliminates any gaps or poor-fitting areas of the mask

The Importance of Double-Masking

1. Better fit. Eliminates any gaps or poor-fitting areas of the mask

2. Increased filtration. Effectively double the layers of material that virus-containing respiratory droplets have to travel through before reaching a face or leaving a mouth

Try out your double mask at home before using it in public

1. Fit. Make sure that the outer mask helps to press the inner mask close to your face, forming a seal. Cup your hands over your mask. Make sure no air is flowing from the sides of the mask as you breathe.

2. Breathability. While breathing may require a little extra effort when you’re double masking, but it shouldn’t make breathing difficult.

3. Vision. Make sure that your double mask doesn’t block your vision.

Use the proper mask combination

Some mask combinations may not improve fit or may make it hard to breathe. As such, avoid combinations of the following:

Two surgical masks - Surgical masks are not designed to fit tightly and wearing more than one will not improve fit.

Two cloth masks - A surgical mask should be worn underneath a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric.

A KN95 and any other type of mask - No doubling up required. KN95 can create a proper seal on the face and filter 95% of particles.

A N95 and any other type of mask - No doubling up required. N95 can create a proper seal on the face and filter 95% of particles.

Should you double-mask?

If you can maintain a distance of at least 1 meter from others outside your household, a single mask can give good protection. However, a double mask can be beneficial when you’re:

  • Going shopping

  • Visiting the doctor

  • Traveling with others outside your household, such as by plane, train, or public transportation

  • Working a job where you cannot maintain physical distancing