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As regularly wearing a face mask becomes the norm, one thing has become very apparent: Many masks don’t fit. Mask fit goes beyond comfort, and is a potential health risk, too. As shared from a study by engineers at the University of Edinburgh, poorly-fitting masks pose a rise at the back and the sides. Those gaps can easily leak air and respiratory droplets, especially if there is force behind the air like a cough or sneeze (via Huff Post). For simple surgical masks, a bad fit can also lead to spreading germs (or viruses) through heavy breathing.
That’s where this viral hack from practicing dentist Dr. Olivia Cuid helps so much. Instead of trying to match up a rectangular, flat blob of fabric to your three-dimensional face, she uses simples knots and then fluffs out the mask to create a contoured and curved face-covering for a more effective fit (via TikTok).
Adjust your face with a few simple steps
Dr. Cuid notes that the sides of your face are left very exposed with a loose-fitting surgical mask. So, try her hack for a better fit. First, fold your mask in half. Grab an ear loop and tie a knot as close to the face covering as possible. Repeat on the other side. Open up your mask and there will be a small opening next to the ear loops. Tuck in that excess fabric on each side, and shape the final covering for a better fit (via KCCI).
This popular hack was shared by Katie Couric on Instagram as she says, “Thank you @tt_cui for sharing this easy tutorial for how to make a loose mask fit securely on your face!” Fans also agreed: “Hey I just did this and it works great! A much better, more secure fit. Thank you, Katie and Dr. Olivia!” Another commenter said, “Thank you! I have been ordering kid sized masks for my small face, but this will help me with the adult sized ones I already have!”
As with any conversation regarding masks, there are of course a few detractors, but overall this easy tip seems like a huge win.