Can winter scarves serve as mask substitutes? Health experts weigh in

Posted at 1:57 PM, Dec 07, 2020

As the U.S. enters into colder weather, masks meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 won't be the only face coverings one sees out on the street.

It's led many to wonder: Is a mask necessary if I'm already wearing a scarf over my nose and mouth?

Health experts say: Not so fast. Doctors say the best masks to wear during the winter are the same you would wear all-year-round.

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They also warn that when masks get wet -- say, due to breath perspiration catching on a face-covering -- they need to be laundered or replaced immediately.

"We have the paper, surgical masks – when those masks get wet, they need to be thrown away," said Dr. James Kravec, Chief Medical Officer at Mercy Health Youngstown in Ohio. "The cloth masks – when those get wet, they need to be laundered right away. Either mask, when they're wet, they're no longer effective."

Kravec advised to put a COVID-preventative mask on first before layering up with a scarf, hat and gloves.

This article was written by WCPO.