Why face shields, bandanas and neck gaiters are not as effective as face masks?

Right now, we want everyone in the world to be abiding by public health regulations to combat the spread of COVID-19 because we want to see the ones we love safe and healthy. Plus, I think we are all ready to get back to some normalcy. In fighting the spread of this virus, the biggest regulation has included wearing a face covering in most public places. But, are all face coverings equal?

The short answer: No, they really aren’t.

It’s no surprise that people like having choices, and no two people like the same thing. This held true when face coverings began spreading through the world. We saw things like homemade face coverings, knitted masks, scarves, face shields, N95 masks, and more makeshift options arise. Many people, instead of investing in an actual face mask, decided to make use of bandanas and neck gaiters to serve as a temporary solution for the pandemic. Additionally, some decided to purchase face shields so that they could breathe easier and talk to others more clearly. From the outside, it looks like a perfectly fine alternative; in all of these cases the nose and mouth are being covered. However, studies have found that some of these options may actually be doing more harm than good.

A research study conducted by Duke University in America tested 14 different kinds of face coverings. They found that of the 14 masks and other coverings tested, some easily accessible cotton cloth masks are about as effective as standard surgical masks, while popular alternatives such as neck gaiters made of thin, stretchy material may be worse than not wearing a mask at all.

The reason why these alternatives—face shields, bandanas, and neck gaiters—are becoming more and more popular is because they are very convenient. Bandanas and neck gaiters can easily be pulled up or down and worn around the neck at all times. Face shields offer less direct contact and can be a popular choice for people facing breakouts from wearing face coverings. However, with convenience comes a loss of protection, as they do not do a great job at actually restricting air and causing less particles to enter into spaces.

Ultimately, If you have a neck gaiter, scarf, or bandana that doesn’t fit snugly against your face, it will not prevent your respiratory droplets from entering the air around you. You may also be tempted to touch and adjust your mask throughout the day, increasing the chance that germs will be spread from your hands to your mask and face.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends investing in a face mask that fits the following criteria:

  • Fits snugly but comfortably against the side of your face
  • Completely covers your nose and mouth
  • Is secured with ties or ear loops
  • Includes multiple layers of fabric
  • Allows for breathing without restriction
  • Can be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

We are trying to protect ourselves and others at this time, which means we must all be willing to sacrifice some comfort in the process. Although bandanas and neck gaiters may be easier than wearing a cotton mask, or even a disposable mask, it isn’t worth causing more damage to our society. Now, that isn’t to say that every brand of neck gaiters and bandanas are the same. Many businesses have tried to pivot their old products to be more helpful during this time of public risk. However, it is something to consider when deciding which option to choose from, and we have a perfect solution that will allow you to skip the hassle of researching the best gaiters and bandanas.

Our team at Topmask understands that wearing facial coverings can be uncomfortable or annoying. That is why we have made it our mission to design the best face masks available in Australia. Not only are our face masks protective, they are also extremely comfortable and sustainable. We prioritized breathability in our mask design while also ensuring you are getting optimal protection. When you choose to purchase from Topmask, you are showing that you care about yourself, those around you, and our environment.  

To shop our products, visit our website.

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