Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, face masks have become both necessary and in vogue. From classic disposable masks to fashionable reusable face coverings, the selections can be really fun, but which ones actually protect us from virus transfer? The CDC warns that some coverings used as masks against COVID spread aren’t likely giving you the best protection from infection.
Which face coverings don’t measure up? Keep reading to learn what the CDC says to avoid, which masks to choose, and how to wear them for the best protection.
8. Face Shields
Though face shields are often used as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by health care workers, proper face masks should still be worn underneath them. The CDC warns that wearing goggles and face shields without masks can still expose your nose and mouth to virus spread. Face shields don’t usually fit tightly around the face, which creates plenty of space for respiratory droplets from other people to get through.
If you do want to wear a face shield, the CDC recommends finding one that wraps around to your ears and extends down past your chin, or choose a hooded face shield.
7. Ski Masks and Scarves
Loose-knit fabric doesn’t provide enough protection from virus spread. Respiratory droplets can still slip inside the fabric weave. This is why the CDC states that most scarves and ski masks shouldn’t be worn as face masks.
Fortunately, not all scarves and ski masks are created equal. Some are definitely better than others when a proper face mask isn’t available. A silk scarf is going to protect you from virus spread much better than a knit scarf. A cotton ski mask – especially one made of several layers – is more protective than those made of polyester.