Does wearing two face masks offer more protection from COVID-19?

Wearing two face masks
Posted at 5:23 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 18:26:47-05

For months now, the CDC has recommended mask wearing to stop the spread of COVID-19. So, at this point most of us have a pretty extensive mask collection.

For some local shoppers, continuing wearing one mask is an easy choice.

“It’s a homemade fabric one and it has like a filter pocket. I only wear the one because I think it does its job,” said one shopper.

“It’s a double layer cloth cotton so you can breathe through it. I normally just have one on," another shopper said.

However, with limited vaccine access and an increase in reported cases, some folks are double masking.

Vicki Smith is one of those shoppers who has decided to double-up.

“I have a blue medical mask that you can just buy anywhere and then I’ve made this mask," Smith said.

The San Francisco native is passing through to help her sister move to the area. She says she's wearing two masks for an extra layer of protection since Texas COVID mandates are not as strict as California.

“I’m only wearing two masks in Texas because I’m finding that people do not wear masks. I feel a lot safer there and I feel like people are more respectful because the mask doesn’t save me it’s going to save you,” Smith said.

The question remains: is two really better than one?

Dr. Erin Reed Hospitalist Director at Advent Health says the CDC recommends your mask should have two or three layers.


“Though the CDC does not recommend wearing two masks, one could consider wearing two masks in certain situations. If you have a very thin mask or on that you can see light through or that is not fitting properly you can consider adding an additional layer, especially if you can't socially distance,” said Dr. Reed.

Dr. Reed said you never want to compromise your breathing by adding that second layer.

So, if it's too much for you, do not wear it.

However, if your breathing isn’t restricted, and you want to add on an extra mask, she encourages you to go for it.

The CDC also recommend everyday people stay away from those N95 and KN95 masks, so they can be preserved for our frontline workers. For more about proper masks click here.

For tips on how to safely wear and remove your mask, click here.