Face masks: Who needs to wear them? When? Why? How? I’m sorry, but if you don’t know how, we might have some bigger problems. I guess a better question would be how should it fit? I’ll get to that later.
The CDC recommends that people wear face masks when going out into a public setting where social distancing is difficult to follow (crowded stores, train stations, etc). This is because the virus is transmitted in two ways: either someone coughs/sneezes close enough to you that it gets in your eyes, nose, or mouth, or you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. A face mask limits both of those methods, but it’s important to remember that it does not completely eradicate the possibility of infection.
Moving on. The CDC recommends everyone wear a face mask not only to prevent uninfected people from getting sick, but because there are also people who could be infected and do not know it yet. HOWEVER!!! This does not mean people should go out and buy all the surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are for the healthcare/medical workers and they desperately need to be able to access those supplies. Instead, the CDC has also put out instruction on how to make your own face masks, which is even better because they can be made of materials that can be washed and reused. They have tutorials on making them with sewing machines and spare fabric, or if you’re not a sewer or don’t own a sewing machine, there are methods such as cutting an old t-shirt or using a bandana and some rubber bands. Heck, if that’s too much for you, I’m sure there’s someone out there selling these reusable masks for a decent price.
According to the CDC, these masks/coverings should:
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- be secured with ties or ear loops
- include multiple layers of fabric
- allow for breathing without restriction
- be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
Based on these, it’s really just best to make your own face mask.
Check out the link below for the CDC’s recommendations on masks and instructions on making your own.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html