A fan uses a neck gaiter as he enjoys the L.A. Dodgers play the San Francisco Giants in Los Angeles.

Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

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Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times by means of Getty Images

A fan wears a neck gaiter as he sees the L.A. Dodgers play the San Francisco Giants in Los Angeles.

Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times by means of Getty Images

Edmond says the most safe technique combines a mask and a face shield to offer optimal security from viral particles for yourself and for others. As a general guideline, Diaz states its crucial to consider your own health risk when identifying a mask or face covering routine. “If Im going to the grocery shop, where I do not anticipate that there are going to be people really close to me, I will normally wear a guard, unless the store states specifically I have to wear a mask,” he states. If the mask has a filter behind the valve– which many cloth face masks with valves have– then it ought to be OK, states Raina MacIntyre, a leading mask researcher and head of the biosecurity program at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Each week, we respond to “regularly asked questions” about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a concern you d like us to consider, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: “Weekly Coronavirus Questions.” Between face shields, neck gaiters and goggles, the options for defense are getting more complex. What face covering setup uses the very best safeguard from the virus? Theres been a lot of face covering news this week. A study from Duke took a look at the effectiveness of a range of coverings and led to headings like this from The Washington Post: “Wearing a neck gaiter may be worse than no mask at all, researchers discover.” Lovers of neck gaiters– those tubes of material you slip over your head which pull up over the nostrils and mouth– were up in arms. The Philippines ruled that you have to use a plastic face guard when going outside. Something is clear from the research study: Wearing a face covering can save lives.

When it comes to larger viral droplets, he states, a face guard is likely more protective than a face mask.

However theres still a lot we do not know. The neck gaiter argument highlights why theres still confusion. Outside exercisers typically like gaiters– theyre simple to bring up and down, and there are no ear loops that may pinch the ears or just slip off. This week, a study from Duke appeared to conclude that using a gaiter is worse than no mask at all when it came to defense. (The researcher hypothesized that the gaiters porous texture would likely split large COVID-19 particles into numerous smaller sized ones, which then can linger in the air for longer.) And the media fasted to jump on the story. Dr. Michael Edmond, infectious illness expert at the University of Iowa, has a couple of points to make about the research study. “One thing to understand is that they [evaluated just] one gaiter, made of neck fleece– which is an extremely thin fleece,” Edmond says. Thats an artificial product. He says: “I d be interested to understand if the gaiter tested was made from a various material with multiple layers if it d be more protective.” To put it simply, he d like to see more data prior to knowing whether to mark down all gaiters. Whichs real in basic about face coverings that look for to protect others from any viral particles released by the wearer– and protect the mask-wearer also. Dr. Vicente Diaz, who focuses on ocular inflammatory and infectious diseases at Yale Medical School, agrees, He says while Dukes study offers a great starting point, there are lots of other aspects to consider in examining gaiters– like screening circumstances and the particular gaiter used.

Edmond states the best technique combines a mask and a face guard to provide optimal security from viral particles for yourself and for others. “If Im going to the grocery shop, where I dont expect that there are going to be people really close to me, I will usually use a guard, unless the shop says particularly I have to wear a mask,” he says. If the mask has a filter behind the valve– which many cloth face masks with valves have– then it should be OKAY, states Raina MacIntyre, a leading mask researcher and head of the biosecurity program at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

“What they found was that when the topics were talking for 10 minutes, [gaiters] seemed to permit particles [gushed by the user] to separate and even spread much faster,” he states. “But that may be a function of the material used, in addition to the style of the face covering.” Whats more, outside exercisers are … outdoors … where threats of transmission are lower than inside. And runners might also be following the guidelines of social distancing, which would even more reduce threats to others– which is why some reports have actually said you should not be so rash to trash your gaiter. One ScienceNews story, by Jonathan Lambert, yields that there is certainly much to be discovered still about masks role in helping avoid the spread of COVID-19. According to Monica Gandhi, an infectious illness expert at the University of California, San Francisco, cited in the story, the “prevalence of evidence, both for COVID-19 and earlier infections, recommends that cloth face masks, and that consists of correctly used neck gaiters, filter out the bulk of viral particles and offer some protection for a person.” Theres the question of full-on plastic face shields. Edmond believes theyre pretty cool. When it pertains to bigger viral beads, he says, a face guard is likely more protective than a face mask.

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