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layering season

New CDC research recommends double masking

A graphic shows how to mask.

Mask up. And then mask up again.

In new research out Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found wearing tightly fitted masks decreased the chance of exposure to potentially infectious aerosols by as much as 95 percent. So for the first time, CDC experts are officially recommending double masking and other methods to ensure masks fit tightly to one's face.

The CDC suggested a variety of ways Americans can improve their resistance to inhaling COVID-19 particles. Layering a cloth mask with a noseband over a surgical mask can help seal any gaps around the masks' edges. So can wearing a nylon gaiter-style covering or a mask fitter over a surgical or cloth mask. Even just wearing one surgical mask can be improved by knotting its ear loops and tucking in its edges, as shown in this video. All of these techniques can both keep your respiratory droplets from getting out and keep others' from getting in, though the CDC only tested the first two in lab tests with dummies.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

KN95 masks are still in short supply, but if you have one, the CDC recommends not layering any masks on top. Layering two disposable masks also isn't helpful, the CDC says. Find the CDC's guide to better masking here.