COVID-19: Cute, efficient face masks

Ever since the outbreak of the novel virus COVID-19, individuals in the community, public health and infection prevention and control (IPC) professionals, health care managers and health care workers (HCWs) have been advised to always use face masks when going out or when treating people suspected to have the virus.

The use of face masks, together with social distancing and handwashing, prevents the transmission of the coronavirus.

The primary benefit of covering your nose and mouth is that you protect others. While there is still much to be learned about the novel coronavirus, it appears that many people who are infected are shedding the virus – through coughs, sneezes and other respiratory droplets – before they start feeling sick. And others who have the virus may never feel symptoms but may still play a role in transmitting it.

That’s why wearing a mask even if you do not feel sick can be a good idea.

The availability and affordability of the surgical mask and the N95 respirator, has, however, given rise to the alternative which is cloth masks.

People are finding clever ways to use whatever materials they can find at their homes to produce face masks, but what protection do they offer? How do they compare to medical masks? and how well do these masks protect us and our communities?

While a cotton bandana may not work the same as an N95 mask in blocking the transmission of the virus, something is better than nothing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  4inbandana provide customized bandana according to your need and you can wear it while going outside and other such places where drinking in the sun and light costume is expected/encouraged.

Health experts, however, say the material still matters, and for those lacking items necessary for producing surgical-grade masks, a study conducted by researchers at Northeastern University found that adding an outer layer of nylon stocking over masks “improved particle filtration efficiency for all masks.”

After adding the nylon material to the homemade masks, which researchers say achieved particle blockage of less than 60 per cent without the additional layer, the efficiency of the masks was improved by as much as 50 per cent.

Also, researchers at Northeastern University in Boston determined that adding a pantyhose material over a mask could help to filter out more airborne particles when compared to wearing a mask alone.

The pantyhose creates a snugger fit around the wearer’s face, sealing in the loose edges of the masks.

So, when you decide to make your home made mask, make sure you add a nylon material or a piece from pantyhose. Also, make sure it:

  • fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • is secured with ties or ear loops
  • includes multiple layers of fabric
  • allows for breathing without restriction
  • is able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

 

 

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