Should I wear a homemade mask to help protect myself, my family and others against COVID-19?
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, the public has been urged not to wear surgical or disposable health masks due to the global shortage. Many articles stated that wearing a mask offers insufficient protection from the virus and can increase the need for you to touch your face. Not to mention the unhygienic practice of wearing a disposable mask more than once.
But as more and more countries around the globe enter periods of lockdown, new research is showing that with 85% of Coronavirus asymptomatic, the virus is being unintentionally and unknowingly spread by people who have the virus and don’t know it. International health experts are now advising that homemade masks can help prevent unintentional spreading when you go out for essential supplies. Furthermore, if you are quarantining at home with someone who is positive or you yourself are positive and have no surgical masks to use, a homemade mask is better than no mask at all.
Making a mask is easier than you think, and you don’t need many supplies to make them for your family. An old cotton shirt or pillowcase will do, and elastic can be reused from clothes the kids have outgrown. (If you have no elastic, simply attach ribbons, repurposed shoelaces or string and the mask can be tied behind the head).
Responsible homemade mask use during lockdown
- If you need to head to the shops or chemist, wear your mask to avoid spreading the virus unknowingly
- Wash the mask daily in hot soapy water. Rinse well and allow to dry thoroughly
- Don’t stop washing your hands just because you are wearing a mask
- Tight weave cotton is the best fabric for homemade masks. Avoid synthetic fabrics or spandex
- Don’t touch the front of the mask once you’ve started wearing it
- Make a few masks for each person in the house, so that a new one can be worn each time you go out