A guide to purchasing (or making) a face mask for COVID-19

May 19, 2020 22:34

Although fabric masks provide only minimal protection in opposition to the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses, the Centers for Disease Management and Prevention (CDC) now suggest that everyone use them when leaving the house. The hope is that this low-risk, relatively easy intervention can make a dent in the spread of COVID-19 by individuals with no symptoms or extremely delicate ones.

However masks aren’t exactly easy to come by: Medical-grade ones are already in brief supply for healthcare workers who need them, so healthy individuals shouldn’t even attempt to buy them. And in the wake of the CDC’s new suggestions, even non-medical material masks are sold out or backordered in lots of on-line stores. In the event you’re attempting to determine if and how it’s best to cover your face in your subsequent essential trip out of the house—for a stroll on an uncrowded avenue or to purchase necessary groceries, for instance—here’s a guide to all your options.

Things to look for and avoid when shopping for a cloth masks

Plenty of crafters and makers, as well as corporations that usually sell other cloth products, are actually providing non-medical masks for sale. However not all of those masks are created equal. In case you’re ordering protective equipment on-line, right here’s what to search for:

Do not purchase medical-grade, filtering masks unless you might be immunocompromised or are caring for somebody sick with COVID-19. Hospitals are experiencing excessive shortages of those masks, and they don’t seem to be shown to provide significant protection for healthy individuals.

Your mask should cover your nostril and mouth and should have fastenings that keep it firmly in place while you discuss, move, and breathe. If you need to touch your face to adjust your masks, you risk exposing your nostril or mouth to germs.

Ideally, the mask ought to have some type of adjustable band to reduce gaps between your nose and your cheeks.

The best materials are waterproof and tightly-woven—not stretchy or sheer. A tightly-woven cotton is the following best thing, and your mask ought to have at the least layers of it.

Your mask needs to be straightforward to sanitize by boiling or throwing within the washing machine. Which means it shouldn’t have cloth glues, delicate supplies, or funky decorations (aside from prints on the fabric). Elaborations like sequins (yes, there are people selling sequined masks proper now) provide surfaces that viral particles can linger on for days.

In the event you purchase a fashionable cover to go over your mask—some stores are selling glittery fabric covers and chainmail overlays, for instance—do not forget that this outer layer is being exposed to viral particles. You have to remove it and sanitize it just such as you would with the masks itself.

What about a balaclava or scarf?

Rachel Noble, a public health microbiologist at UNC at Chapel Hill, tells PopSci that balaclavas and other warm-weather gear designed to cover your nostril and mouth are unlikely to be suitable for stopping the spread of COVID-19. Because they’re designed to be as straightforward to breath via as potential, they are typically made of loose fabrics.

“You wish to choose a really, really tightly woven fabric,” Noble says. “We’re speaking 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 if you pull them are probably too loose, she says, as are most sweaters and other knit yarns. So when you really can’t sew or put together a mask with hair ties as described under, covering your nose and mouth with a bandana tied around your face is probably slightly more effective and easier to sanitize than a balaclava or wound-up scarf. But all of those workarounds are principally only beneficial in that they remind you to not touch your face and shield bystanders from the worst of your coughing and sneezing. In case you’re coughing and sneezing, it is best to really be staying inside.

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May 19, 2020 22:34
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