Are Gaiters As Effective As Face Masks?

Many people are using gaiters as face masks, but are they effective? Jason Kessler said: “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.” Also as per the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people wear cloth face coverings whenever in public and face masks have become a hot commodity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are Gaiters As Effective As Face Masks?

Gaiter is a wide tube of fabric that is worn around the neck instead of the ears and can easily be pulled up and down, to cover and uncover the mouth and nose as desired. But are they effective as face masks? M.D., Section Chief of Infectious Disease at Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey said that the material, the fit, and whether or not the person is wearing the gaiter as recommended (over the mouth and nose) can all impact how effective it is like a face covering. At the same time, Dr. Kessler says that there have not yet been any studies done comparing the two, so there is no conclusive recommendation. Also, Emily Sickbert-Bennett, Ph.D., 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.”

If you opt to wear a neck gaiter then there are certain features to look for when choosing a gaiter.  Dr. Kessler mentions that “Face coverings that are made of multiple weaves ( higher thread counts) seem to block more respiratory droplets than those with lower thread counts, there is some evidence that [face coverings] made of blended materials (cotton plus another material) may be somewhat more effective as well.” Comfort is the key and every individual will choose the best according to their comfort. So experts like Dr. Kessler and Dr. Sickbert-Bennett says 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.

In the market, there are varieties of best neck gaiters and a number of retailers online, from Amazon to REI to Etsy. The top-rated one on Amazon is the Mission neck gaiter, which has over 3,100 rave reviews for being both comfortable and breathable and followed by  Achiou one, which also has thousands of reviews for its snug fit and plethora of stylish designs. One of the most popular neck gaiters is one from Blackstrap, which people say fits securely and feels soft against your skin. And the final is one is the popular one is  Etsy, which offers tons of different neck gaiter options, including this highly-recommended one which even has an adjustable nose piece to prevent it from slipping.

Dr. Kessler reminds the people that “No matter which you choose, it’s important that you wear something, It is difficult to compare all of these factors to recommend masks versus gaiters but, clearly, wearing a face-covering of any kind is better than not.” 

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About the Author: Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. Her investigative works exposed to child sex-trafficking and environmental issues. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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