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Coronavirus fact check: Can wearing two masks guarantee better protection than one?

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Masks work as the best form of protection against coronavirus and other easily transmissible respiratory germs.

There are enough studies to prove that using a mask can not just protect the spread of germs from an infected person, but also protect healthy people from catching it.

Considering their effectiveness, there has also been a strange trend which has been catching on- double or triple masking.

To add another level of ‘protection’, many are also opting to choose to don a face shield over a face mask.

In countries like the USA, where cases continue to surge, the trend of double masking has quickly caught on. President-elect Joe Biden, sportspersons and many experts have been spotted wearing one. Many in India, especially ones using homemade masks are opting to use this feature as a way to safeguard themselves.

Theoretically, two is better than one- which may make many think double or triple masking is a good choice.

But, the main question remains- is using more than one mask helpful to safeguard against the novel coronavirus?

Should you really be wearing more than one mask right now?

From a medical perspective, using more than one mask works to create a more rigid barrier for germs and viruses to creep in. It will also do a better job in preventing the spread of viruses, if you are a carrier for the infection, providing ample protection.

However, while many feel that double protection will cut down the risk of transmission from a sick to a healthy person, some experts, on the contrary, suggest that wearing one mask over the other can lead the respiratory droplets to get ‘trapped’ between the two layers.

Wearing more than one mask also means that a mask-wearer should be doubly diligent about cleaning and sanitizing masks.

Aren’t more layers the better option?

Current health guidelines suggest that people choose a mask which contains at least 2-3 layers of fabric that can fit and cover your face well.

While layers are always a preferred option, the objective can be simply achieved by using a good quality mask- that has multiple layers in it. Having to use 2 or 3 masks, in the hopes that it will add layers won’t really serve better protection.

At the same time, do remember that most of the masks under offering right now carry similar rates of effectiveness-while a surgical mask is good for general use, N95, which offers more protection is suitable for ones on the direct line of duty. Thus, because both N95 and surgical masks are pretty effective on their own, thinking that combining the two will add more protection won’t necessarily work.

Secondly, what one needs to know is that wearing additional masks can suffocate you, and lead to additional woes.

All effective masks- be it surgical or N95 masks have been designed to fit snugly around the face which ensures that the nose and the mouth are well-covered. Adding layers, or additional masks will make it altogether more for you to get fresh air to breathe. This is for the same reason, masks which have exhalation vents aren’t recommended for use.

Who should be making use of this option?


As long as you secure a good quality mask which is made up of multiple layers and fits you well, there’s no need of using donning additional masks. That being said, taking the precautionary step may not be entirely without benefits.

The only people who should consider using more masks than one is if you are in a high-risk place are a healthcare worker who faces high exposure or if you experience trouble finding a good quality mask which doesn’t fit you good.

Hoarding, or using more masks than you actually need may also account to piling of a neccessary commodity in times of a grave pandemic as such.

If you avoid stepping out unneccessarily, practice social distancing and wear a mask every time, using just a single mask is more than enough. Just remember to make it correctly.

What can you do to make your mask for effective for use?

As many experts now point out, for people who are still interested in doubling up masks, a good alternative to choose is to add a mesh-like outer layer to a cloth or homemade mask, which will help create a ‘tighter’ seal to stop germs from going through.

The key is to opt for multi-layers masks, rather than toying with additional masks one on top of the other.

Read here to know what is the best type of mask for you.


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‘Genuinely tasty’: how a 12-year-old changed her dad’s misconceptions about being vegan | Parenting your parents

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I’m one of the least likely people to go vegan. I love meat – I’ve tried rattlesnake, bone marrow and even alligator. I always assumed giving up meat would make you feel weak and tired, plus I could never imagine voluntarily eating tofu. But then my 12-year-old daughter, Nancy, discovered climate activist Greta Thunberg …

Greta is a real inspiration to Nancy and her friends. She taught them how – by eating meat and contributing to global warming – adults are destroying the planet that Nancy’s generation will be living on. Greta is vegan, too, and persuaded her parents to give up meat (her mum does admit to being only 90% vegan, but that seems more than enough to me).

In our house, my partner is vegetarian and Nancy avoids red meat, so it’s just me and my son William, 10, who devour sausages and burgers. We’ve talked before about doing meat-free Mondays to help protect the environment and reduce cruelty to animals, but Nancy wanted to go one step further: “I bet you couldn’t even go vegan for one day,” she said. And so the challenge was on.

Day one: I went to make breakfast and instantly realised that my usual options – muesli with milk, toast with butter, and tea with more milk – were out of the question. I headed to the shops in search of some dairy-free alternatives, taking three times longer than usual while I made sure what I picked was vegan-friendly.

Nancy Stevenson and her dad, Andy.



But the choice of foods I could eat was pretty impressive. Egg-free mushroom ravioli, cheese-less pizzas, oat drinks, hummus, Quorn slices. Some of the tastes were new to me, but so much better than I’d expected.

Best of all was the vegan snack selection. I cycle a lot and eat wine gums and flapjacks to keep me going. The gelatine, butter and honey meant they were out, but Nakd snack bars made from dates, nuts and fruit kept my energy levels up and tasted great.

By day three, the vegan experiment was going well but I was getting tired of processed food. A vegan friend told me that the key to going plant-based was home cooking “with bucketfuls of herbs and spices” to make it tasty. She sent me a few recipes and I got to work. Minimalist Baker’s easy vegan ramen was delicious, filling and helped me get over my fear of tofu; Bosh!’s portobello mushroom burger was an instant winner; and I made up a vegetable curry with coconut milk that was perfect.

Home cooking takes effort, though, so I allowed myself a cheat day and ordered in from a vegan restaurant called Miranda Cafe, in Crouch End, north London. I can’t say I fell in love with plantain, but jackfruit was impressive: the texture of pulled pork with a rich, smoky taste. A courgette and aubergine lasagne was a big hit with the children, who then dived into vegan desserts: Oreo cake and salted caramel cheesecake (which tasted amazing even without “real” cheese).

After five vegan days, I was ready to go back to meat and dairy. At the start of the challenge I wasn’t sure I could last even a day without them, but everything I’d been worried about – feeling tired, eating boring food, missing meat – turned out to be wrong. I felt more energetic than normal, the food was genuinely tasty and it felt good to be doing something to help the planet.

It wasn’t easy. I had to totally rethink my diet, but it has opened my eyes to a kinder way to eat.

Maybe I’m not ready to be a full-time vegan, but I am thinking more deeply about how what we eat affects the future of our children. I’ve cut down the amount of meat I eat, I’ve adopted date-based snacks, I’m enjoying oat drinks, and I’m carrying on with the vegan cooking.

As for Nancy, she was impressed with my efforts (and wants to have the vegan Oreo cake again). We’re planning to go on the next climate crisis march together.

Need help talking to dad about milk? Visit oatly.com/helpdad


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TikTok, K-pop or CoD: how much do your parents really know about you? – quiz

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Are they immersed in every little detail of your life, or do you prefer to keep what you share with your parents minimal? Take this quiz to find out exactly how familiar they are with your interests and hobbies

Need help talking to dad about milk? Visit oatly.com/helpdad

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Chocolate as a charitable act | Chocolate

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My friend Mathew, who lives in Canada via Wales, told me about Arthouse Unlimited chocolate way back in May 2019. And then I forgot about it until I found it again in a little shop called Blue Dog in Clare in Suffolk (if you are even remotely in the vicinity it’s worth a detour, in fact the whole of Clare is), which sells all manner of lovely things. Just before Christmas, shopping in a mask and drenched in hand sanitiser, I found it, bar upon glorious bar: the wrappers are some of the best I’ve seen (Dormouse and Solkiki are exceptions).

Arthouse Unlimited is a charity bringing together various artists with complex learning and physical disabilities. They work with instructors to create artworks that they then put on tea towels, soaps and mugs. But it’s the handmade chocolate I am, of course, interested in. This is made by two UK-based chocolatiers. It’s not craft chocolate or single-origin, but every bar of milk is a minimum 40% cocoa, which I applaud. (White and dark also available.)

The flavours are slightly wild – and commendations to who writes the names, because they all sound intriguing: dark chocolate with white truffle honey, anyone? I stocked up on milks and they were soon demolished. My favourites were the ‘Dinosaurs’ milk chocolate with sea salt and crispy crunch and the ‘Blue Dogs’ (no relation to the shop) milk chocolate cheesecake with gingernut crunch (both £5.25, 100g). If you usually read this column and think: ‘Thanks, but it’s all bit artisan and dark for me, Annalisa,’ try these: you’ll love me.

arthouseunlimited.org


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