Facts And Myths About DIY Face Masks (infographic)

Masks are now being seen in the streets, grocery stores, and nearly everywhere where people walk, talk, and touch things. Earlier this year, the CDC and WHO discouraged healthy people many times from wearing masks. But on April 3, 2020, the CDC reversed their opinion and started to encourage people to wear masks in public. The CDC and WHO have specified who should wear masks. The CDC recommends masks to people in public settings, where regular social distancing procedures don’t work and WHO recommends masks for those who are caring for those who possibly have COVID-19 or show symptoms themselves. Both WHO and the CDC agree that masks should not replace hand washing, hand sanitizer, or other social distancing measures.

Since COVID-19 can be transmitted by people who show no signs of being infected, it can be very difficult to stay healthy. This property caused an estimated 86% of COVID-19 cases to go undocumented and undocumented cases caused for more than 75% of total transmissions in China. The way masks help is by making sure that if you are infected, as you breathe you are not adding the virus to the air around you, spreading it to others. This was shown in lab testing with particles being held in by a face mask and demonstrated that the mask could protect others from infection by the wearer. According to one study, using hand sanitizer frequently and wearing a mask can help reduce the spread of the flu by all the way up to 50%. With COVID-19 being an estimated 3 times more infectious as the flu, even a minor reduction in infectivity could make a huge difference. Apart from the creation of the N95 respirators, which proved highly effective against the stopping of tuberculosis and a variety of other viruses, little research has been done in the effectiveness of cloth masks.

With mass shortages of masks in hospitals, emergency responders, and more, making your own mask is becoming a necessity. Using materials like towels, fine muslin cloth, layered gauze with cotton cloth, layered gauze, and even paper can be used to make effective face masks. Putting on and taking off your mask properly is also another important step in staying healthy. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before putting on your mask, any time you touch your mask, and when you take your mask off. Avoiding touching your mask to prevent contamination - hold your mask by the ear loops whenever possible and after the first time you fit your mask, avoid adjusting any further. When first putting on the mask, make sure the mask covers both your nose and mouth, with no gaps in between your face and the mask. Remind yourself with the mask not to touch your face, and any mask that gets damp or wet should be washed before reuse. Cleaning a cloth mask is a simple process - take any used masks and put them into a closed container until they are ready to be cleaned. This is to prevent any contamination of people and things in your home. With disposable masks, or when cloth masks wear out, place them into a lined and lidded trash bin. Washing a mask can be as easy as adding regular washing detergent and placing into the washing machine with hot water. But if you are worried that your water may not be hot enough or you do not have a washing machine, soak them in a 10:1 bleach water solution, then boil your masks in a pot of water for 10 minutes, then finally, hand wash or launder as usual.

Learn more about making your own mask and masks keep you safe during this time of crisis here.

There has been a lot of conflicting information about face masks lately, but the general consensus is that we should all be wearing them when we are out in public. This infographic outlines the latest recommendations as well as how to make your own mask at home.
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