Health experts now say you may want to double up on face masks

ATLANTA — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country and in here in Georgia, health experts are now suggesting people wear not just one but two facial masks to reduce the spread of the virus.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington spoke with a metro doctor about which mask people should be wearing.

Clinical nurse Ginger Kreigh knows the benefits of wearing the proper facial mask first-hand. She contracted the coronavirus, has since recovered and then received the COVID-19 vaccine.

She’s now urging more people to mask up.

“I wear a surgical mask and my eyewear because I have to,” Kreigh said. “If we can get people to wear masks in general, then we are better off.”

“We know COVID spreads through respiratory particles that everybody puts out there every time they breathe, talk, cough. So if you get people altogether in a small indoor space and one of the people has COVID, you are going to spread it that way,” said assistant professor of infectious diseases Dr. Marybeth Sexton with the Emory University School of Medicine.

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Washington asked Sexton what kind of mask is the most effective. First, she talked about the cloth masks.

“It has multiple layers of fabric. Like if I put my hand up, you can’t see through it, that’s what you’re looking for,” Sexton said.

Next Washington asked her to weigh in on surgical masks.

“These are made to be a little bit better at filtering particles that are coming in at you,” Sexton said.

As for the N-95 masks, Sexton said that kind of mask is mostly recommended in healthcare settings, not in the community.

“We go through special training in healthcare with how to put one on, checking to see if you have a seal, going through a medical clearance to wear one, so what you’ll see is people don’t have a seal, so it’s not doing what it’s supposed to be doing for you,” Sexton said.

Tuesday, Washington put the different kind of masks to the test. While at her home, she put a cloth mask on and tried to blow out a flame. The flame stayed lit.

She tried the same thing with a surgical mask and finally with an N-95 mask. In all cases the flame never went out.

Health officials say it’s important a mask acts as a strong barrier with no real air exchange.

“The most important thing here is to just wear a good mask,” Sexton said.

She told Washington that with COVID-19 cases still on the rise, it’s important for people to double up when it comes to masks.

“I put this next to my face because I have the filter next to my nose and mouth. And this really secures it in place and closes any gaps on the sides,” Sexton said. “You wearing a mask, everyone wearing a mask around you, that’s what’s going to keep everyone safe.”

Health experts did explain which type of mask to steer clear of. Air can sometime get through knit masks, which means the virus can still get through.

Doctors say it’s important to wear the right kind of mask and when able, you should actually double up.