You’ve heard about double masking, leaning on the extra layers and a tighter seal to protect us from coronavirus. But there’s another option besides piling on masks: mask fitters. They’re like belts, but for your face.
Mask fitters, sometimes called mask braces, prevent your face mask from sagging around the contours of your nose and mouth. This means every breath you take while wearing one actually passes through the filters of your face mask, instead of seeping in the easy way: through gaps in the sides or top. According to the CDC, a tight seal on a good mask provides you a very similar level of protection as double masking.
The first mask fitter designs, tested over the summer by researchers at the University of Wisconsin (Go Badgers!), were basically just bent pipe cleaners, covered in moldable tubing, tied to your face with string. They worked if you didn’t mind looking like a muzzled doberman. Since then, a couple manufacturers have iterated their own mask fitter designs. One such company is Fix the Mask. Its mask braces are cut from rubber, which makes them pass as bonafide pieces of medical equipment, as opposed to the products of a suspect middle school science fair project.
For the past week, I’ve been switching between wearing a disposable surgical mask underneath a simple black cloth mask and wearing the same disposable mask with the fitter. Both arrangements are protective enough, but the single-mask-with-fitter is a lot more breathable and comfortable. And ask as a glasses wearer, the Fix the Mask fitter solves another of my problems: no more glasses fog. No more strolling the sidewalks and the grocery aisles with opaque specs. True, I get some weird looks for the rubber face harness, but at least I can actually see them.
Fix the Mask sells a pair of braces for $30, which feels like a reasonable amount to pay for a fog-free, corona-protected existence. (Though if you’re feeling crafty, the team at Fix The Mask and UW have published free instructions for constructing your own mask fitters.)
Fix the Mask mask brace (2-pack)
Fix the Mask
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By Daniel Varghese