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Double Masking? A Good-Fitting Mask May Be A Better Option For Preventing Spread Of COVID

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) - As more contagious strains of the coronavirus continue to spread, experts in Colorado say multiple masks aren't as necessary as a good fitting mask.

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"The double masking has come because masks don't fit. I'm sure you've tried different ones and some just feel terrible. All of us have different face shapes," said Dr. May Chu a Clinical Professor at the Colorado School of Public Health. "You have to fit it and wear it around so you're actually able to keep the air in."

Dr. Chu has been studying Personal Protective Equipment for years.

"When you double mask you actually create more resistance and you don't want to use it because you can't breathe. You have to find the comfort. The main thing is to wear something that is comfortable where you reduce the leakage," she said.

Dr. Chu is working with other experts to try and standardize how masks are sold. Outside of N95 masks, consumers have very little knowledge what they're buying and how permeable they may be.

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"The standard commercial mask that you have can be 15% to 70% (filtration). So some masks can be as good as a surgical mask but as a customer you don't know that. What we're trying to do is get labels on here to tell you what the protective factor is. Then you can find one that fits you best and allows you to breathe and then you should be in a better position," Dr. Chu said. "Doubling up your mask doesn't prevent you from getting that infection if you're not distancing."

Inside medical facilities some double masking is taking place but it's not becoming policy.

"We really want to align with CDC and they are not showing any evidence that it provides more protection," said Laura-Anne Cleveland the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children Assistant Chief Nursing Officer.

While it may not necessarily decrease your chances of getting COVID-19, double masking does bring some people peace of mind.

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"There's not really a need for double masking. That being said, if someone wants to and it makes them feel more comfortable you will never see one of us shun you or advise against it. If it makes someone feel better, please do it. Just know there really isn't any evidence to suggest that it is more valuable to wear two masks," Cleveland said. "There's research out there that shows just over 50% of the population is masking. The more everybody masks the more we are all protected."

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