This Is How You Should Be Wearing Your Face Mask, According To A Health Expert

The Covid-19 pandemic has been impacting the world for two years now (via Medscape). While the virus had been raging in other countries since 2019, the United States did not feel the full effect of the virus until the country began lockdown measures in March of 2020. During that time, we saw everything from people hoarding toilet paper to shortages in products many used daily, like baby formula, due to panic buying (per USA Today). 

Throughout the pandemic, the CDC has attempted to enforce guidelines, like wearing a mask in public. However, the rules have been ever-changing (via Inc.). Many states have decided to enforce or ignore mask mandates.

The varying mask mandates from state to state lead to various companies taking policies into their own hands. Apple, for example, mandates across the board that its employees should be wearing a mask at work.

While many states began easing their mask mandates as vaccines began to become available, the Omicron variant spreading at an alarming rate has called for masking to become the norm again (or, stay the norm if you've been listening to the CDC this whole time). So, how should you be wearing your mask as the new variant spreads across the country? Health experts are weighing in.

Experts recommend stepping up your mask game

Over the last two years, many people have chosen to wear a fabric mask when hitting the grocery store or the local mall. Not only are they a fun way to show off your personality with a cute design, but they are also more eco-friendly, allowing unlimited uses because they are able to be tossed in the washing machine.

However, health experts are warning that with the Omicron variant, you may need to upgrade your mask game (via NBC News San Diego). Shira Abeles, MD, infectious disease specialist at UCSD health, shared, "Omicron has multiple mutations in it and so the targets for the vaccines have changed a little bit and so the vaccines are not predicted to work as well as they have been for Alpha, Beta and Delta variants, all the variants prior to this." So, wearing a mask even if you are vaccinated is important.

Experts are recommending buying KN95 or N95 masks, but they may be hard to find (via People). If you can't get your hands on those masks, medical experts recommend doubling up on surgical masks and fabric ones.

Dr. Leana Wen told People, "Here's the reason. A 3-ply surgical mask is the minimum of what you should be wearing at this time, in the face of such a contagious variant that is airborne," adding, "For many people though, that surgical mask doesn't fit well around their face, and having a cloth mask on top of that, that's well-fitting, can improve the fit."