We have been in this debate for a long time now, whether to wear facemask during this pandemic or not? At the start of the chaotic situation, many people ran to the stores and bought masks which resulted in price rise and supply shortage. Then, some started to say that we don’t need to wear masks as they are not effective against COVID-19. People got confused and still wondering whether to wear these masks or not. What to do? In this situation we are facing right now, correct information is very important to avoid any further panic and to take the right precautions. This will not only help to fight this infectious virus but also keep mentally sane.
That’s why we decided to give away correct and structured information so that you can fight this virus without worrying about the shortage of facemasks. The CDC also gave away guidelines to voluntarily cover your face or wear cloth masks while stepping outside the house or going in crowded places like supermarkets where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
N95 respirators (tight face fitting that filters out the tiny particles in the true sense) and surgical masks (loose-fitting disposable masks which only filter large particles) are the only most effective protective solutions against COVID-19. After the huge demand, they are short in supply and major stores have stopped selling them to the public in order to provide continuous supply to healthcare professionals who are fighting at the front line.
Why are Cloth Face Masks Important?
As we are facing a shortage of special protective gear, health officials have recommended to general citizens that they should wear cloth masks in order to protect the people around you. The real danger is, anyone, can be infected with COVID-19 without showing any symptoms so cloth masks will help you to prevent the spread of the disease further. Coronavirus is a respiratory virus, cloth masks will stop you from touching your face or nose all the time. Plus, cloth masks can easily be made at home. You can wash and sterilize to use them again. By wearing a cloth mask, asymptomatic carriers actually trap the virus inside the mask and prevent transmission of infection to someone else.
How To Make Face Masks At Home?
The best part about cloth face masks is you can make them at home with convenience. The materials required usually can be found at home. You can always order them online from any healthcare products store, this way you can avoid the risk of going outside. The procedure and materials we are going to describe here are totally according to the guideline provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- 2x Rectangular 10”x6” of Fabric (Preferably Cotton).
- 2x Pieces of Elastic 6” long (E.g. sloth strips, string, hair ties, or rubber bands)
- Needle & Thread
- Scissors & Sewing machine.
Step # 1: Take the fabric and cut it into 10”x6” 2x rectangles. It’s best to use woven cotton that is tight i.e. quilting fabric, or cotton sheet. T-shirt fabric can also work. Now, you will sew the two together as it is a single piece of fabric.
Step # 2:You will fold over the ¼ inch long sides and hem. After this, you will fold the double layer of fabric over ½inch and stitch down.
Step # 3: In this step on each side of the mask, you will run the six-inch length of ⅛ inch wide elastic via hem which is wider. This way you will make ear loops. For threading it through, you should use a large needle or bobby pin. Now, you can use elastic strings, headbands, or anything elastic to tight the ends. Make the ties longer so that they can reach behind your head.
Step # 4: You should pull the elastic gently. This way knots will be tucked inside the hem. To adjust the mask fitting on your face, you can gather sides of the masks on the elastic. To avoid slipping off the mask, securely stitch the elastic in place.
If this seems like much work, you can make a simple t-shirt facemask as well. Which is very easy to make and will not require any sewing.
If you don’t have these materials at home, you can always order them online by visiting www.opentip.com. You don’t have to share the risks by going to the supermarket. Opentip will make sure all the protective measures while delivering your homemade facemask components.
All you need is:
Should You Put Filters Inside Fiber Facemasks?
If you want to take things one step ahead then you can add a filter within fiber masks. It is recommended to use HEPA vacuum filters. If you don’t have the availability of these then you can always use a coffee filter and paper filters as well. Some people are ordering air conditioner filters, please keep in mind all filters can work except they are fiberglass. Also notice that these filters are not becoming the hindrance in your breathing ability while wearing masks. Polypropylene non-woven fibers can also be used as filter fabrics. Polypropylene is usually being used in grocery bags, tote bags, or wine bags, etc.) The advantage of using this non-woven fiber is, you can use it again and again after washing or sterilizing it. This is the same fiber that is used in N95 masks as well.
How To Use Homemade Face Masks?
Homemade usage is very easy. Properly laundered in the washing machine will be enough in using them again. Just make sure to wash them continuously to keep it clean and neat. How many times you should wash them depends on your frequency of use. Always be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth after removing the facemask from the face and immediately wash your hands.
Remember, fabric face masks are not as effective as N-95 or surgical masks. These are critical medical protective supplies which we should reserve for medical professionals who are fighting this war at the frontline for us. Cloth masks are the only protection against unintentional transmission of germs so if you are having any questions, it’s better to reach out to your doctor or medical specialist. Also, face-covering should be used for young children especially under age two, or for those who have breathing problems.