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By Andrea Drever

Content and Editorial Director


As we’re cautiously entering the world of travel again, we still need to protect ourselves and others. What we wear on our faces is still pretty important. So, how do you pick the right mask?

Get a Good Fit

Masks should fit snugly around the nose, mouth, sides of the face and under the chin. Having a gaping hole above your nose means that air can leak in and out and the mask won’t offer as much protection. It’s also believed that facial hair and masks are not a good combo. The hair growth widens the gap between the face and the mask, so more air can enter and escape.

 

Man wearing a mask, sitting on steps, looking at his phone

Go for Layers

The best-performing masks will have two or more layers of heavyweight fabric like cotton or quilting material. These types of masks will provide 70% to 79% filtration of particles. Masks with four or more layers can provide 80% to 90% filtration. Single-layer masks, such as neck gaiters and bandanas, will likely provide the least protection.

Consider Shields

Wearing a face shield in addition to a mask isn’t absolutely necessary for travel. However, if you or your family wishes to be extra cautious, it can’t hurt to wear them as an added layer of protection.

Check With Your Airline

If you’re traveling by plane, make sure you read the airline’s rules when it comes to which face coverings they allow on board. Some masks are prohibited. Masks with valves or vents, those made with mesh or lacey fabric, and masks that cannot be secured under the chin (like bandanas) aren’t permitted on some airlines.

Double Up, But Don’t Triple Up

A second cloth covering could offer more protection by creating multiple layers of woven fibers for the virus particles to navigate. This can even be a step people reserve for when they are going someplace with a lot of people, like the airport or public transportation, just to have the added protection. But three masks could make it too difficult to breathe.

So if you’re heading out, mask up. It’s one of the most important steps we can take as we venture out into the world again.

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