People are using gaiters as face masks—but are they as effective?

People are wearing neck gaiters instead of face masks—but are they as effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19?

7/31/2020 10:26:00 AM

For different reasons, some people have started looking for alternatives to the traditional face mask. Enter the neck gaiter.

People are wearing neck gaiters instead of face masks—but are they as effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19?

.However, despite being necessary for preventing the spread of coronavirus, face masks aren't always the most comfortable thing to wear. People—especially those who have to wear masks for extended periods of time, like essential essential workers and healthcare professionals—often complain of pain behind their ears due to the mask straps and skin irritation. As a result, some have started looking for alternatives to the traditional face mask.

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Enter the neck gaiter. This wide tube of fabric is worn around the neck (instead of the ears) and easily pulled up and down, to cover and uncover the mouth and nose as desired. But are they as effective as masks? Here's everything you need to know about neck gaiters, according to experts, and where to buy the best ones right now.

Are neck gaiters effective?Likely yes—if worn correctly, experts say."Based on data available, face coverings including gaiters likely provide some benefit in that they will reduce the spread of respiratory droplets from an infected person to the area surrounding that individual," explains Jason Kessler, M.D., Section Chief of Infectious Disease at Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey. He adds that the material, the fit, and whether or not the person is wearing the gaiter as recommended (over the mouth

andnose) can all impact how effective it is as a face covering.Whether or not a gaiter is as protective as a face mask is up for debate. Dr. Kessler notes that there have not yet been any studies done comparing the two, so there is no conclusive recommendation. However, Emily Sickbert-Bennett, PhD, Director of Infection Prevention at UNC Hospitals in N.C., says: "We do know that tighter-fitting face masks have better aerosol filtration, but the most important thing is for people to find a mask that is comfortable that they can and will wear. A neck gaiter covering the nose and mouth would most likely be appropriate."

How to choose a neck gaiterExperts recommend a gaiter made of blended materials. (Photo: Into the AM)If you opt to wear a neck gaiter, how do you pick the best one? While, as mentioned, no studies have yet been done to differentiate between types of face coverings, Dr. Kessler says that there are certain features to look for when choosing a gaiter."Face coverings that are made of multiple weaves [i.e., higher thread counts] seem to block more respiratory droplets than those with lower thread counts," Dr. Kessler explains, adding,"In addition, there is some evidence that [face coverings] made of blended materials (cotton plus another material) may be somewhat more effective as well."

Of course, comfort is key, as well. No matter the material, experts like Dr. Kessler and Dr. Sickbert-Bennett stress that choosing either a face mask or a gaiter that you can wear comfortably for extended periods of time will be most effective, as you won't be tempted to remove it or adjust it, which could transfer germs from your hands to your face.

The best neck gaiters you can buyYou can find gaiters in all different prints and colors. (Photo: Blackstrap/Mission) Read more: USA TODAY »

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Does anybody remember the quote from Lewis' Deputy Chief of Staff that began 'Keep it simple' and ended with 'Make it sing!' I wanted to jot that down and I missed it. Amazon if you are interested about $4 it fits well over prescription glasses I wear glasses. Wear one with a mask in indoor type situations where ventilation is poor. If someone sneezes or coughs near you I do try to keep social distancing, regardless. COVID19 virus

None of themare Really affective..., Air goes in an out all, people carry themlike a purse, spreading all with the ACTUAL MASK.., And fingers touching everything, brings Everything Home.., Ridiculous ALL... And unless it’s an N95 all it does is signal to everyone that you’re so woke and tender, even though you and everyone with even a menial understanding of science and particle sizes knows it does nothing to protect you or others from covid. What’s the bigger reasoning behind the

Little late to this party, aren’t ya? I have one. It’s the easiest and most comfortable but when it’s 120 in the shade, it’s too hot around my neck Arghhhh FacialRecognition Comfortable for exercise but Disney won’t let you visit their parks with one Let's make the whole 'Western Villain' look cool again to disrupt society because 'ORANGE MAN BAD'!!! You are pathetic.

Oh just give us the turbans already, we know the agenda The outright disrespect for the bandana will not stand man...

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