4. Choose Masks with Wire or Bendable Plastic on the Nose Bridge
If you notice that your glasses fog up when you have your mask on, then you don’t have an adequate seal around your nose. When it comes to establishing a tight seal, the nose area is the most problematic part of a mask. A wire or bendable plastic helps to create a better fit.
3. Change Out Your Mask When Soiled
When a mask collects dirt and moisture, it decreases its ability to keep out viruses and bacteria. Ideally, you should at least replace your surgical mask every day. However, if you need to do so, you can re-use a surgical mask. If you wear a surgical mask for only short periods and it is not soiled, you can store it in a paper bag when not in use. Once the mask becomes moist or dirty, you should discard the mask.
Cloth masks can be laundered with your regular clothes and changed out at least once daily. Just like surgical masks, once a cloth mask becomes moist or dirty, it should be changed out for a new one.
2. Three Layers Are Better Than One
Surgical masks filter air reasonably well using a blend of material made explicitly for the masks. Homemade cloth masks, on the other hand, are limited to pre-manufactured fabrics usually meant for clothing. Cloth masks should have at least three layers to provide proper air filtration. Gaiters and scarves don’t have enough layers or a tight enough seal to filter air, which is why surgical masks or cloth masks are the better choices.
1. Use an Elastic “Hack” to Create a Better Seal
A popular video by Olivia Cuid, MD, has gone viral because of its simple, yet effective, method for making cloth masks and surgical masks fit better. Because the sides of the face can pucker, causing an air tunnel, Dr. Cuid recommends the following:
Take a surgical or cloth mask and fold it in half, lengthwise. Tie a knot on each side at the ear loops, as close as possible to the mask. Open up your mask and tuck in any fold or opening at the sides underneath the ear loops on each side.