Is Wearing Two Masks Better Than One?

You may have noticed some people doubling up on masks. Is wearing two masks better than one?

It depends.

Face masks help protect you and others from spreading or catching COVID-19. If you’ve managed to obtain an N95 or an actual surgical mask, then putting another layer over the top probably doesn’t do much good. These health care masks are made of tightly woven materials specifically designed to prevent viral particles from penetrating, so they probably don’t need any extra help.

But if you’re using a basic cotton mask, wearing a second mask might indeed trap more viral particles in your breath when you exhale and might also provide better protection against inhaling the virus from the air. 

We don’t have scientific evidence about that yet, but, it probably doesn’t hurt to double-mask, especially if you find yourself in a higher-risk situation, like living with someone who’s sick with COVID-19.

Also, no matter how many layers of fabric your mask contains, make sure it fits well and hugs your face without gaps. Gaps can allow germs to escape or to get in and make you sick.

Lastly, remember that, don’t develop a false sense of security that double-masking means you don’t also have to take other public health precautions. You still need to maintain physical distance from other people. And wash your hands.


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