Wearing a winter scarf 'simply cannot replace a mask' in fight against coronavirus

The impending winter weather can bring about new COVID-19 pandemic challenges, from indoor gatherings to mask-wearing.

Medical experts are now warning of winter mask safety, reminding everyone that wearing a scarf simply cannot replace a mask.

Scarves might be too loose, or the material too thin, to prevent the spread of potentially-infected droplets, doctors said.

"There really is a difference in using a mask to prevent the spread and the catching of COVID-19 versus keeping the air warm and keeping our nose and mouth warm," said Dr. James Kravec, Chief Medical Officer at Mercy Health Youngstown.

Dr. Jennifer Most, a pulmonologist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital said the best masks for winter are the same ones used year round.

"The way that masks protect us best is if the mask is fitting kind of snugly around the nose, and around the side of your face," said Most. "And you really need to make sure your mask is at least two layers."

Kravec also points out that it's crucial to keep masks dry in the cold winter months.

Wet masks should be laundered right away because they are "no longer effective" when they're wet.
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