MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — Studies are coming out that say the cloth masks that most have been wearing since the pandemic began may look good with their array of stylish colors, but it has not been very effective.  

As Omicron takes the lead as the dominant COVID-19 variant, health experts are advocating for people to pay more attention to the type of protection they are wearing and tell us to ditch the cloth.

“We want to make sure that it is not a cloth mask. A cloth mask does not offer protection,” said Asha Shajahan of the Mayo Clinic. 

A recent study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic as well as in India found that in villages where cloth masks were worn infections were only reduced by only 5%. That’s one of the reasons why the Mayo Clinic is now asking everyone to wear a surgical or N95 mask.

Emerging evidence also showed that the surgical or medical grade mask does a better job of preventing respiratory droplets from carrying the virus to others. 

“I personally think it’s a minor inconvenience to put on a mask and I don’t mind wearing it at any time as long as it’s a good one,” said Jeff Samz, CEO of Huntsville Hospital.

However, if your only source of protection is a cloth mask, health experts say there are ways to improve its protection 

“You want to make sure that it’s at least two or three layers but I would recommend getting a surgical mask that actually has the filters built into the material,” said Shajahan. 

Health experts say if you are still unsure of what masks work best you can go to the CDC website. There you can find a complete listing of mask guidelines.