Will a gaiter protect me from coronavirus?

Masks Staying Safe

A: Let’s discuss. The gaiters we are referring to are facial coverings that go around your neck and extend from above your nose down your neck. They are commonly used to protect against the sun, inhalation of dust, or during very cold outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, and skiing. Gaiters, to our knowledge, were not designed to protect individuals from a virus. That said, many are wearing gaiters as face coverings to decrease the transmission of Covid-19 and to meet various requirements to wear a face covering in public. There is very little evidence regarding the level of virus transmission protection a gaiter provides. Here is what we know to date about gaiters as a face covering intended to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

1) Fabric – Tightly woven fabrics, such as cotton, are best at preventing droplets from spreading. Masks made of multiple layers or the addition of a filter further decrease the leakiness of fabric. Gaiters are commonly made of synthetic, stretchy fibers in single layers, potentially increasing their permeability.

2) Fit – Masks that fit snugly on your face, specifically across the bridge of your nose and along your cheeks, provide a better seal and therefore limit movement of virus in or out of your mask. Not all masks, including gaiters, fit the same. A good seal across the bridge of the nose and the bottom of the neck with a gaiter are important considerations.

3) Fidgeting – Repeatedly touching and readjusting your mask increases the risk of introducing the virus to your eyes, nose, and mouth by way of your hands. A comfortable gaiter could decrease face touching. A gaiter frequently pulled up and down could increase face touching and contamination of your gaiter.

4) Rules – Some jurisdictions, including Disney World, will not allow entry of patrons using a gaiter as a face mask. It is important to look at face covering requirements before going to new environments.

All evidence suggests universal masking decreases the spread of Covid-19. A gaiter is likely better than nothing. We hope the above considerations provide additional context. As more information becomes available, we will keep you up to date.

Link to original FB post.