A Guide To Purchasing (or Making) A Face Mask For COVID-19

A Guide To Purchasing (or Making) A Face Mask For COVID-19

Though material masks provide only minimal protection in opposition to the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now advocate that everyone use them when leaving the house. The hope is that this low-risk, comparatively straightforward intervention can make a dent in the spread of COVID-19 by folks with no signs or extraordinarily delicate ones.

However masks aren’t exactly easy to come by: Medical-grade ones are already briefly supply for healthcare workers who need them, so healthy people shouldn’t even attempt to purchase them. And in the wake of the CDC’s new recommendations, even non-medical cloth masks are sold out or backordered in many on-line stores. In the event you’re trying to determine if and how you should cover your face in your subsequent essential trip out of the house—for a stroll on an uncrowded avenue or to buy needed groceries, for example—right here’s a guide to all of your options.

Things to look for and keep away from when buying a fabric mask
Numerous crafters and makers, as well as corporations that often sell other material products, at the moment are providing non-medical masks for sale. But not all of these masks are created equal. In the event you’re ordering protective equipment online, here’s what to look for:

Don't purchase medical-grade, filtering masks unless you might be immunocompromised or are caring for someone sick with COVID-19. Hospitals are experiencing extreme shortages of these masks, and they are not shown to provide significant protection for healthy individuals.
Your masks should cover your nose and mouth and may have fastenings that keep it firmly in place while you speak, move, and breathe. If you have to touch your face to adjust your masks, you risk exposing your nostril or mouth to germs.
Ideally, the mask should have some form of adjustable band to attenuate gaps between your nose and your cheeks.
The simplest fabrics are water-resistant and tightly-woven—not stretchy or sheer. A tightly-woven cotton is the following best thing, and your mask ought to have a minimum of two layers of it.
Your mask needs to be easy to sanitize by boiling or throwing within the washing machine. Which means it shouldn’t have material glues, delicate materials, or funky decorations (aside from prints on the material). Gildings like sequins (sure, there are individuals selling sequined masks right now) provide surfaces that viral particles can linger on for days.
If you purchase a fashionable cover to go over your mask—some stores are selling glittery cloth covers and chainmail overlays, for example—do not forget that this outer layer is being uncovered to viral particles. You could remove it and sanitize it just such as you would with the masks itself.
What a couple of balaclava or scarf?
Rachel Noble, a public health microbiologist at UNC at Chapel Hill, tells PopSci that balaclavas and different warm-weather gear designed to cover your nostril and mouth are unlikely to be suitable for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Because they’re designed to be as easy to breath by way of as attainable, they are usually made of loose fabrics.

"You want to choose a really, really tightly woven material," Noble says. "We’re talking about something that’s approximately the density of the weave of a bandana, or a really high-high quality bedsheet."

Jersey materials, towels, and any textiles that stretch while you pull them are possible too loose, she says, as are most sweaters and other knit yarns. So if you happen to really can’t sew or put collectively a mask with hair ties as described below, covering your nostril and mouth with a bandana tied around your face is probably slightly more efficient and easier to sanitize than a balaclava or wound-up scarf. However all of these workarounds are largely only beneficial in that they remind you not to contact your face and shield bystanders from the worst of your coughing and sneezing. In case you’re coughing and sneezing, you need to really be staying inside.

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