Do Halloween masks offer protection from coronavirus?

When it comes to masks, two layers are better than one

Face masks have been recommended as one of the key ways to avoid the spread of coronavirus. (Cleveland Clinic News Service)

Halloween is a great time to dust off a fa-BOO-lous mask.

But not all masks are created equal, especially when it comes to COVID-19.

Kristin Englund, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic said it’s important to remember that only certain masks are proven effective in reducing coronavirus spread.

“We know that cloth masks that have two layers of cloth are the best way to protect yourself when you’re out trick-or-treating,” she said. “So, try to incorporate that as part of your costume. Try to find some cloth that matches your costume and make your own masks.”

Surgical and cloth masks are often worn to help prevent COVID-19.

Research suggests both types of masks are a good way to reduce expelled droplets.

When it comes to cloth masks though, Dr. Englund said one layer of cloth is okay, but two layers will provide better protection.

It’s also important to remember that a mask needs to be worn over your mouth and nose to be most effective against coronavirus.

And if you’re thinking about layering masks on Halloween, don’t bother doubling up.

“To have a mask on that we know is protective against transmitting COVID and then to try and put another costume mask over the top of it, it’s probably not going to be an easy fit,” said Dr. Englund. “It’s going to be difficult to try to breathe in, and it’s just going to cut down on the amount of fun you’re trying to have on trick-or-treat, so let’s stick with the cloth masks.”

Dr. Englund said everyone should wear a mask, even if they don’t have symptoms, because some people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic but still contagious.