How to Improve Mask Protection

by Delilah Newton | Feb 19, 2021

To improve mask protection, it is important to wear your mask correctly and consistently. However, not all masks provide the same protection. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises when choosing a mask, it is important to look at how well it fits, how well it filters the air, and how many layers it has.

Your mask will work best if:

  • It fits snugly against your face. Gaps can let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask.
  • It has layers to keep your respiratory droplets in and others’ out.
  • You 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.

Which masks provide the best protection?options-mask-fit-small

  • Choose a mask with a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the
    top of the mask.


  • Use a mask fitter or brace over a disposable mask to prevent air from leaking around the edges of the mask.
  • Add layers of material. For example:
    • Use a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric.
    • Wear a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask.

Note: Healthcare workers are not advised to wear multiple masks because the CDC-approved medical/surgical masks and N95s that healthcare workers already wear provide the recommended amount of protection.Masking Don'ts

DON'T combine two disposable (medical) masks. These masks are already multi-layered, and wearing more than one will not improve fit.
Just make sure the mask fits snugly atop your nose and doesn't gap at the sides.

DON'T combine a KN95 mask with any other mask. Only use one KN95 mask at a time.

Thank You for Doing Your Part to Slow the Spread of COVID-19
We must all continue to wear a mask, social distance, and practice frequent hand hygiene to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before we can stop practicing these safety measures. Other factors that will affect that decision include how many people get vaccinated, how the virus is spreading in communities, and whether or not getting a vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you do not get sick yourself.

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