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Should you be making COVID-19 mask upgrade?

Making masks coronavirus
Posted at 9:45 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 00:24:03-05

Wash your hands, social distance and wear a mask. You've no doubt heard the advice by now.

It was 10 months ago tomorrow that face masks were first recommended by the CDC. Since then, millions of Americans have donned everything from surgical masks to homemade face coverings in an effort to battle COVID-19.

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Now, as more contagious strains of the virus spread around the globe, some experts are encouraging us to either upgrade to medical grade masks or double mask.

"I don't think we should be waiting for things to get worse to protect ourselves better," says Arizona Medical Association president Dr. Ross Goldberg.

He wants to see Americans using KN95 masks, similar to what frontline healthcare workers use. But unlike the N95 masks commonly used in hospital settings, and the focus of rationing for healthcare workers, KN95 masks are widely available online. They are not exactly the same, but are significantly better than the homemade variety many people are using and reusing now.

"Think of the mask as an obstacle course for the particles that are carrying the virus. The more things you can throw in its way, the harder it is to get into your mouth and into your lungs," Dr. Goldberg explains.

If a better mask is unavailable, Dr. Goldberg suggests double masking. He says its especially important if you need to be indoors and around a large group of people.

The mission of ABC15's Health Insider series is to dive deeper into the things impacting your health and the health of those around you. We're going in-depth with expert advice from people who know it, see it every day in their work and study it. Have a story idea? Contact the team at HealthInsider@abc15.com.

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