What kind of mask should you be wearing? UMD professor weighs in

These days, wherever you are, you’re bound to see plenty of people wearing masks. But according to researchers, some of those face coverings may not be working quite as well as you’d think.

"We’re asking everybody to wear masks," University of Maryland Professor Donald Milton said Tuesday. "What kind of mask should you be wearing?"

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Milton addressed the question in an article published Tuesday in the Harvard Business Review. Among other things, it points out that while vaccines are in the process of being distributed, masks aren’t going away any time soon, and also – some masks work better than others.

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"I bought some crummy stuff off of Amazon last summer that doesn’t turn out to work very well at all," explained Milton, who actually tests the masks.

So what’s that mean for you? First, Milton said an N95 mask is still about as good as it gets. Beyond that though, he added that you want a mask to have a good filter, be breathable – and this is important – it has to fit properly too.

"These things have better filtration but they still leak a lot," Milton said, holding up a basic surgical mask. "So one way to get them to fit better is then to put a brace over it like this."

The brace can be purchased at the website Fix The Mask, Milton said. He also endorsed the site’s rankings of masks themselves.

In addition, Milton mentioned that the organization ASTM International is on the verge of releasing new standards for masks, and as a result, he said that within about a month consumers could start to see labels on masks that essentially display how well they work.