The world is currently facing a global pandemic due to coronavirus. Ever since it broke out, health specialists have recommended that everyone use face masks, like the N95, to protect themselves from the virus. Unfortunately, the demand has surpassed the production that government agencies and those in the healthcare industry recommend that these respirators should be given to those who are working in the frontline because of their exposure to patients who have Covid-19.
However, the public is still asked to cover their faces, especially their nasal passages, to help reduce their risk of contracting the disease. Although there are masks that can be bought over-the-counter or online, handmade masks can also be used. But what can masks be made of?
Reasons to Sew a Homemade Face Mask?
The CDC has recently announced that they recommend that everyone should wear good face masks to combat the viral infection. However, with disposable face covers and masks dwindling, it is hard not to worry about where to get such protection against this deadly virus. This is why DIY masks have been recommended.
Why make one? With the lack of masks that are disposable in the market, and the inability to purchase boxes of them because many have lost their jobs, creating your own mask is a cheaper way of making your own protection. The objective of wearing a mask is not to expose others to whatever viral infection you are carrying. Combine this to physically distancing one’s self to others, then there is a good chance that you will be able to reduce the effects of the virus.
Take note that some individuals may be considered as asymptomatic. This means that the individual hasn’t exhibited any signs or symptoms associated with the virus. However, this doesn’t mean that all is well because they become carriers who can easily infect others through direct contact. This is one of the reasons why everyone is reminded to put that mask on before stepping outdoors not just for their safety, but for others too.
What Can Masks be Made Of?
There are plenty of videos posted on YouTube as well as other social media platforms on making a homemade face mask. However, if your goal it to produce the best homemade face mask, you will need more than just any cloth, but rather choose one that has better filtering capabilities. Fortunately, a group of researchers has studied various materials to determine which ones can offer better filtering capabilities.
According to the research, using a tightly woven cotton sheet, plus chiffon can be useful in keeping the bacteria from entering. It is believed to match the capabilities of the N95 respirators which are commonly used in hospital settings. What other options are there? It is also possible to combine cotton with flannel or even natural silk even because they have the same efficacy as the one mentioned above.
Why are these materials effective, you ask? Researchers have stated that the combination of finely woven material, like cotton, and another layer of cloth that has static, can work together to effectively block out tiny particles. However, how effective the mask is will depend mostly on whether it fits you snugly or not.
Since more studies are being conducted on what the best material is to make DIY masks, other factors can be looked into such as humidity and reusability of these masks.
Factors to Consider in DIY Face Masks
Everyone should wear his or her best homemade face mask every time they leave the house. Layering does add extra filters in the mask, but they may pose some problems too which can have a negative effect on a person.
- Masks made from thick layers can affect one’s breathing. Layering is a great practice when sewing your own mask because it prevents tiny particles from being inhaled. However, if the materials used in DIY masks are made from thick materials, like towels, breathing can be impeded which can be dangerous.
- Exposure to dangerous compounds. HEPA as well as filters in the vacuum are efficient in filtering minute particles, but they may contain certain particles that can affect the respiratory system. If you want to make your own mask, choose the right materials.
As you can see, not all materials that you have at home may not work well as filters against the coronavirus. Cotton is still the best material out there since it is breathable.
Who Should Wear Them?
Everyone is asked to wear a protective face covering every time to reduce their exposure to the deadly virus. The mask should be able to cover their nose all the way down to the jawline and be snug against the skin too as much as possible. This comes in handy especially with the elderly provided that they do not have any respiratory ailments that can worsen when their air passages are covered by a mask.
Creating your own DIY mask not only helps you reduce your spending, but you are also protecting not just yourself, but others too. It would be better if you make as many masks as you can so you can use them alternately while the previously worn gets scrubbed and washed to remove any virus that may have hitchhiked on them.
Good Face Masks Must Be Worn
It is understandable that many are struggling with the idea of having to wear a mask whenever they go outside, but with the virus being spread through minute particles, it is better to be safe than sorry. Patients who have contracted the virus have had trouble when breathing and other symptoms while many have died because of it.
Although the N95 masks are perfect for filtering viral infections, since they are in short supply, making a homemade face mask is a good alternative. All you need to know is to choose the right materials for your mask and start sewing. This way, more face masks will be given to those in the healthcare industry who are in need of more of these protective gear when dealing with their patients.