Coronavirus faqs: what are mask braces? What if I get COVID after 1 dose of vaccine?

Each week, we answer “frequently asked questions” about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you would like us to consider for a future article, send us an email at with the subject line: “Coronavirus Weekly Questions”.

With growing concerns about more heritable variants, I’ve read a lot about double masking. But are there other ways to improve the fit of the mask? What about mask braces and mask tape? And should I shave my beard ?!

Two masks are better than one. That’s what Dr Anthony Fauci said in the face of looming variants that are likely more transmissible.

The goal is to get a better fit when you are in potentially risky places – for example, a crowded store. Anything you can to improve the seal, especially around the folds of the nose, is helpful in preventing pathogens from entering your personal airspace, says Richard Corsi, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Portland State. University.

But there is no one-size-fits-all solution. “There’s no one solution that’s better than another,” says Sonali Advani, assistant professor of medicine at Duke University.

Try out the different options and find one that is comfortable enough to support you throughout your stay in a potentially risky environment.

Here is an overview of some of the different options.

Mask tape: Similar to what’s marketed as medical tape, “masking tape is kind of like a high-tech bandage, Corsi says. It’s sold in most drugstores and online, of course. You can take it. a strip about 3 inches long and use it to glue your mask to your skin where it meets your nose or use 3 small strips vertically to tighten the fit. ”Anecdote my wife l ‘used, and the tape tough and helps seal and fog her glasses, “says Corsi.

Mask braces: Virginia Tech Researcher Linsey Marr tweeted that these are very useful, even if it warns that they look super silly! You can buy these rubber fitters online, or you can make a DIY version with a template – you need to buy a rubber sheet first. Marr found a brace a bit tight to wear over a mask for a long time, but also easy to carry with a backup mask that you keep, say, in your car or bag. “This should greatly improve the performance of my surgical mask, which was leaking a lot from the sides,” she noted on Twitter.

There are also mask suspenders sold online, made of silicone and looking a bit like the forbidden mask worn by Hannibal Lecter in Thesilenceofthelambs. These braces would fit over a mask to seal it more tightly to your face.

A close shave: Normally, Corsi has a beard and mustache. But he shaved his beard when he realized it was interfering with the fit of his mask. “When you inhale, the air will go on the path of least resistance,” he explains. “Facial hair creates a lot of air holes to get in. So shaving your beard is very important if you want to be well protected.” Go for a clean shave wherever the mask touches the face, he says.

If I contract COVID-19 after my first dose of the vaccine, what should I do? Should I delay the second dose even if it means going out of the recommended time?

Although there is controversy on this point, it has been shown that for two-dose vaccines, dose 1 does not provide the full degree of protection of the combination.

In the case of the Pfizer vaccine, for example, one study calculated that the effectiveness after the first injection was around 50%. This number climbed to over 92% after the second dose.

During this time, it takes a few weeks for your body to start making antibodies after vaccination.

So, in theory, you could be exposed to the virus while you are in a clinic or pharmacy to receive your dose. Or maybe you get reckless after the first dose and give up some of your preventative measures – which please don’t !!

So what?

“If you get COVID-19 after your first dose [of the vaccine], you must wait until you have recovered from an acute illness and completed the isolation guidelines [before getting vaccinated again]Says Harvard Medical School physician Abraar Karan.

Because there is a risk of infecting others, you should not end your isolation prematurely to complete your vaccination sequence.

Sonali Advani, assistant professor of medicine at Duke University, is particularly concerned about the risks to medical staff and frontline workers – beyond the usual dangers of spreading infection that you would carry by going anywhere. where with a case of COVID-19.

Also, since you already have the infection … there really isn’t such a big rush to get the second installment of the vax.

A happy note: For the very few of us who are unlucky enough to find ourselves infected between doses of the vaccine, Advani points to new Centers for Disease Control and prevention guidelines: According to the CDC, you can delay your second dose for up to 42 days without sacrificing efficacy.

Advani believes it should be more than enough time for most to recover from a case of COVID-19, complete necessary isolation periods and get their second dose within the immunization window.

And to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, Advani insists on carefully following all key COVID-19 prevention guidelines after receiving your first dose – walking away, wearing masks, and washing your hands often and well. .

Does it matter that I get the second dose of my COVID-19 vaccine in a different arm from the first?

Our experts agree: no.

It doesn’t matter which arm you get your vaccine in, and it doesn’t matter if you get each dose of the two-part Covid-19 vaccine in separate arms, they say. After all, he still fits in the same body.

Sheila Mulrooney Eldred is a freelance health reporter in Minneapolis. She has written about COVID-19 for numerous publications including Medscape, Kaiser Health News, Science News for Students and The Washington Post. More than On Twitter: @milepostmedia

Pranav Baskar is a freelance journalist who regularly responds to Coronavirus FAQs for NPR.

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