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COVID 19: Do face buffs work as well as face masks?

COVID 19 face masks.jpg
Posted at 5:20 PM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 21:12:55-04

KALISPELL — Months after the COVID-19 pandemic started there's still some debate over which face-covering works the best.

Kalispell Regional Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Doug Nelson told MTN News that a recent study out of Duke University showed the effectiveness of different types of face coverings.

"There was a study out of Duke earlier this summer that basically measured how many respiratory droplets came through a whole variety of different face coverings," said Nelson. "And the best for preventing respiratory droplets coming through were the N-95 masks."

Dr. Nelson said that N-95 masks work the best, others like -- neck buffs -- may be as bad as not wearing anything.

"The worst were the polypropylene neck gaiters or buffs," said Nelson. "This particular study, they had more respiratory come through if people weren't wearing anything at all."

Dr. Nelson says that study out of Duke didn't examine different kinds of neck buff fabrics and their effectiveness but only tested a single layer polyester neck buff. He explained that the important thing is to wear a mask with multiple layers.

"Have fibers going in different directions. A droplet may be absorbed into the first layer but then may not pass through the second and third layers," Dr. Nelson said.

He added that if you can't get an N-95 mask a paper surgical mask or a multi-layered cotton mask is the next best thing.