Following the coronavirus pandemic, face masks have become the new-age filters that may help people protect themselves from being infected with a deadly pathogen. However, due to the convenience offered, many people have been using bandanas and neck gaiters as their go-to face covering.
However, a new study has suggested that this light-weight, the breathable fabric can not offer any protection from the coronavirus. According to the new study, bandanas may be worse at blocking the virus than the absence of a face mask.
Bandanas Offer No Protection
The research team from Duke University revealed that bandanas and neck gaiters could undoubtedly be the worst choice when it comes to blocking infected fluid droplets. During the study, the research team analyzed how well bandanas block fluid droplets coming from an individual's mouth while speaking.
Researchers found that bandanas and neck gaiters do not block fluid droplets effectively, and it also caused larger droplets to break down into smaller ones. When droplets break down, particles could hang around in the air for a longer period of time.
Which Is the Best Face Masks For Use?
According to the report, the best masks people can use are N95 ones without valves, which is being currently used by frontline workers in the healthcare sector. Researchers also noted that surgical, polypropylene face coverings, and fabric (cotton) masks also work well against the spread of COVID-19.
"Wearing a mask is a simple and easy way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. About half of infections are from people who don't show symptoms, and often don't know they're infected. They can unknowingly spread the virus when they cough, sneeze and just talk. In the absence of a vaccine or antiviral medicine, it's the one proven way to protect others as well as yourself," said Eric Westman, senior author of the study, in a statement.
Recently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had also confirmed that face masks with valves are not effective in preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus. "The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control. Therefore, CDC does not recommend using masks if they have an exhalation valve or vent," said the CDC in its new guidelines.