Do you wish that your face mask protection fit better? The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released updated guidance for how to ensure your face mask offers proper protection against the coronavirus.
The most important take away from these revised guidelines? A fitted face mask is essential for adequate COVID-19 protection. To protect yourself as well as others from potential coronavirus infection, the CDC says that your face mask should fit "snugly against your face." This is becoming even more imperative as new, more contagious variants of COVID-19 circulate throughout the world.
Face masks are our first line of defense against this pandemic. If they don't fit properly, then "you’re not breathing through the mask — you’re breathing mostly around it," according to William Schaffner, M.D, a professor and infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Here's How to Make Your Face Mask Protection Fit Better
Whether you choose to wear a face mask or neck gaiter, you should make sure it's composed of at least two layers of breathable fabric such as polyester. Your face mask protection of choice should also cover your nose and mouth completely Do you find yourself constantly adjusting your mask when out and about in public? Then it probably doesn't fit properly.
Everyone has a different facial profile. That means there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all face mask. You need to test the fit of your mask and adjust it as needed for truly optimized protection. Here are some tests you can conduct in the comfort of your own home.
1. Identify and Address Any Side Gaps
If you've got a small facial profile, then you probably have side gaps in your face mask. How do you know for sure, though? Put on your face mask. Feel around its edges to assess snugness. Your face mask should rest firmly across your chin, nose bridge, and cheeks. If you can fit a finger in any side of the mask, it's not tight enough.
Fortunately, if you've found some gaps, you can close them. First, fold your mask in half. Next, tie a knot into each ear loop as close as you can to the mask's corner. After this, tuck the face mask's sides into the loops. Try it on. You should notice that the gaps are completely gone or at least minimized. For the latter, adjust your knots until there are no more gaps.
2. Assess Your Airflow
Do you feel warm air inside your mask? According to Dr. Schaffner, that's a great sign that your face mask fits properly. On the other hand, if you experience cool air currents, then your face mask either doesn't have enough layers for adequate filtration or it has some gaps.
If you already addressed the potential of air gaps in the previous test we discussed, then it's time to consider doubling up on face masks. This is definitely recommended if you're constantly visiting high-risk areas such as crowded grocery stores.
The CDC recommends layering your cloth face mask on top of a surgical mask. The surgical mask will function as more of a filter in this case. If you go this route, make sure to check that you can still see and breathe comfortably. Consider swapping out one of the masks used in this setup if you can't.
3. Run a Smell Test
To ensure that N95 respirators fit properly, medical workers often conduct smell tests. Basically, wearers are asked if they can smell anything while they have the mask on. Cloth masks aren't likely to completely take away your sense of smell. Instead, you'll probably experience a dampened sense of smell.
4. Figure Out Why Your Glasses Get Foggy
If you wear glasses, then you've probably dealt with foggy lenses during this pandemic. This is actually a sign that your face mask doesn't fit properly over your nose. If you don't wear glasses, try running this test with sunglasses on. It's as easy as putting on both your face mask and glasses, breathing, and seeing if your lenses get fogged up.
If you're seeing some fog on your lenses, try adjusting your mask's nose wire so that it fits more firmly across your nose bridge. Also, tighten your strap to get rid of any gaps as we outline in step 1. Still seeing fog? The CDC states that a solid or silicone mask fitter could help prevent airflow from seeping through your gaps.
Want a Face Mask That Fits and Will Last a Long Time?
We hope you've enjoyed this brief guide on how to ensure your face mask fits properly. If you still find that your face mask protection is inadequate, then it's probably time to upgrade. As mentioned before, you should strive to find a face mask that has a nose wire, comes with multiple layers, and is made of breathable material. Fortunately, all of Dotted Line's face mask products fit the bill!
Besides the above-mentioned benefits, all Dotted Line face masks and neck gaiters are treated with a medical-grade antimicrobial solution that kills 99.9% of microbes. This treatment is guaranteed to last more than 100 washes. Talk about durable! Now you know why the construction, agricultural, and logistics industries trust Dotted Line Manufacturing to get the job done.
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