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Keffiyeh being worn as face masks: is it safe?

Keffiyeh being worn as face masks: is it safe?

Posted on March 13 2020

We have spotted several SEP keffiyeh owners wearing their scarf as a face mask, in this period of COVID-19 pandemic. Main image, Lina Hadid wearing her "Lina" keffiyeh.



This raises 5 important questions:

1. Does a scarf offer the same protection from virus transmission as a surgical mask? 

No, it does not: a surgical mask is usually designed to be used only once, then disposed of and replaced several times a day. Experts say that medical masks are necessary protection accessories for people who are considered "high risk" or have a particularly weak immune system; in the current global shortage of medical masks, they call for healthy individuals to wear scarves instead and leave medical masks to those who really need them.

The Scientific community globally is recommending wearing a scarf as face cover if you are healthy, to protect yourself and others from your droplets. This is now a law in Illinois: as of May 1st statewide, you will need to wear EITHER a mask OR a scarf over your mouth and nose.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) now officially recommends wearing Cloth Face Covers, read the full recommendation HERE. Abstract:



Daily Mail April 23rd: full article HERE

Ref Doctor Adriana Bonifacino, Onchologist from the Sant'Andrea Hospital in Rome:

2. How do I wear it? 

Follow these 3 easy steps:


3. I am a healthy person, does the scarf worn as mask help me and others?

As doctor Bonifacino says, coughing into your scarf will protect others from droplets and vice-versa, ie it is better than nothing, if you are in good health.

Key advice:

* For a scarf to be free of germs, make sure to wash it as often as possible, even daily.

* Make sure to cover your nose as well as your mouth, when you are wearing it in public!

A SEP scarf, just like any other scarf is NOT a replacement for medical advice and equipment as well as other key measures to prevent contagion, such has washing hands often and respecting the 2-meters minimum distance.


4. Which Keffiyeh scarf will cover up my face with the least possible friction and heat generation?

The Mini Keffiyeh, aka "the Lina" and the Baby Keffiyeh are both small and easy to manage, as shown by SEP Ambassadors Lina Hadid (photo above), Karim Elachar and Sarah S. among others.

The SEP linen shawls have also proven to be a powerful cloth face cover: linen keeps the body temperature and never makes you feel too hot or too cold.

The classic keffiyeh is great in that you can wear it around your neck, and just pull it up over your nose when you are in public places. 

@karim.elachar in his Baby keffiyeh.

5. How is COVID-19 changing the SEP spending priorities?

For every online order during the pandemic crisis, 20$ will be spent on hand sanitisers, disinfectant and medicines in Jerash camp. More on the "Thank you, this is how your money is being spent" blog post.



1 comment

  • Joyce Miller: April 30, 2020

    Using a Keffiyeh
    as traditionally worn, covering the hair, nose and mouth seems to be an economical way to protect the whole head, except for the eyes. Once you are home, you can take it off and just wash your face as a precaution.

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