As the coronavirus pandemic continues, we need all the reminders we can get to keep our hands away from our faces. Some community leaders, like the mayor of Los Angeles, recommend wearing a cloth face mask any time you venture into public areas. While a face covering isn’t as protective as a medical grade mask, it can prevent you from touching your face and offer a small amount of filtration to help slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
A bandana or scarf will work in a pinch, but there’s another way to make a face mask. You don’t need to sew or glue anything either. All you require is two hair ties or rubber bands and a handkerchief.
Photo: Kelly Knox
Disclaimer: Homemade face masks are not as effective as the N95 filtration masks recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But while N95 masks are the ideal PPE (personal protective equipment) for hospital staff, homemade masks can be used in their absence and as a measure of last resort.
Though CDC previously recommended only the ill and caretakers wear facial masks, that is changing. On Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “The better part of valor when you’re out and you can’t maintain that six-foot distance is to wear some type of facial covering. An important point to emphasize though is that should never take away the availability of the masks that are needed for the health care providers who are in real present danger. So this is an addition to the physical separation, not as a substitute for it.”
The blog Japanese Creations has shared a quick and easy tutorial for a no-sew pleated mask that will serve you well for a quick trip to the grocery store or pharmacy.
You can also cut a piece of fabric into a 14″ by 14″ square if you don’t have a handkerchief, well, handy.
If you’re having trouble getting the mask to stay on your ears, move the bands toward the ends of the handkerchief to loosen the fit.
And if you do have a sewing machine and the skill to use it, you can make surgical face masks to use or donate with this walkthrough and other tutorials online.
Remember to wash the handkerchief after each use, and to continue to practice social distancing and thorough hand washing as additional protective measures. Preventing the spread of the virus is not only something you can do for yourself, but your entire community. We’re going to get through this together.
Featured Image: Kelly Knox