16 Apr JAMA Study Finds Double Masking Improves Protection From COVID Virus
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Emily Sickbert-Bennett PhD, MS, CIC, FSHEA
Director, Infection Prevention, UNC Hospitals
Administrative Director, Carolina Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, UNC Hospitals
Associate Professor of Medicine-Infectious Diseases, UNC School of Medicine
Associate Professor of Epidemiology, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Recently public health officials have recommended doubling masks, although the initial study conducted by CDC investigators was limited in type and combinations of masks tested, so our study compared fitted filtration efficiency of commonly available masks worn, singly, doubled or in combination.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Doubling of masks can improve the fitted filtration efficiency of masks, that is how well masks protect you from inhalation of aerosols from others.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: We found that enhancements that improve the seal between the mask and facial skin (e.g., full coverage masks such as gaiter, bandana over procedure masks) were most effective at improving the performance of masks – which leads us to understand that double masking is most effective because of the improved fit that it offers.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Our research team is working to measure the fitted containment efficiency in a similar fashion so that we can understand comparatively how well different masks perform for containing your own aerosols.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: The best form of double masking is when you and the person you are interacting with both have a mask on (this was shown in the recent CDC study). When you are wearing a mask, improving the fit of your mask by modifying or doubling the mask (as shown in our new JAMA paper) can further increase its effectiveness.
Sickbert-Bennett EE, Samet JM, Prince SE, et al. Fitted Filtration Efficiency of Double Masking During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Intern Med. Published online April 16, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.2033
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