CDC Adjusts Its Position on Masks And Respirators

CDC Adjusts Its Position on Masks And Respirators

The federal government today (Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022) announced a giveaway of 400 million N95 masks available for free to Americans starting next week in the wake of the Centers for Disease Control’s updated guidance on mask wearing.

The new CDC guidance suggests that specialized filtering masks such as “N95s” can provide different levels of protection depending on the type of mask and how they are used.

“Loosely woven cloth products provide the least protection, layered finely woven products offer more protection, well-fitting disposable surgical masks and KN95s offer even more protection, and well-fitting NIOSH-approved respirators (including N95s) offer the highest level of protection.” the CDC says on its Types of Masks and Respirators page, which was updated Friday.

According to the CDC, some masks and respirators offer higher levels of protection than others, and some may be harder to tolerate or wear consistently than others. It is most important to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator correctly that is comfortable for you and that provides good protection.

Properly fitted respirators provide the highest level of protection and may be most important for certain higher risk situations, or by some people at increased risk for severe disease.

CDC’s mask recommendations provide information that people can use to improve how well their masks protect them.

CDC ‘Do’ List For Masks

Choose a mask with a nose wire

  • Lady wearing red facemaskA nose wire is a metal strip along the top of the mask
  • Nose wires prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask.
  • Bend the nose wire over your nose to fit close to your face.

Use a mask fitter or brace

  • Man wearing blue facemaskUse a mask fitter or brace over a disposable mask or a cloth mask to prevent air from leaking around the edges of the mask.

Check that it fits snugly over your nose, mouth, and chin

  • illustration of person cupping hands on the sides of maskCheck for gaps by cupping your hands around the outside edges of the mask.
  • Make sure no air is flowing from the area near your eyes or from the sides of the mask.
  • If the mask has a good fit, you will feel warm air come through the front of the mask and may be able to see the mask material move in and out with each breath.

Add layers of material

Layers of masksTwo ways to layer:

  • Use a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric.
  • Wear a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask.
    • The cloth mask should push the edges of the disposable mask against your face.

Make sure you can see and breathe easily

knot and foldKnot and tuck ear loops of a three-ply mask

  • Knot the ear loops of a three-ply face mask where they join the edge of the mask
  • Fold and tuck the unneeded material under the edges
  • For instructions, see the following icon.
SOURCE: CDC website