I love moonshine, but finding some that doesn’t give me a whopping hangover isn’t easy. That’s because home brews can be both amazing AND inconsistent in quality.
So why would it be any different for masks?
There is HUGE VARIATION in effectiveness. If patients are wearing homemade masks, they may be no better than “air” at protecting them from viral transmission. So to help them, we’ve put together helpful guidelines. Share this, hand them out and make your practice safer.
THE “UNOFFICIAL” GUIDE TO MAKING MASKS AT HOME
1) The Right Fabrics
Top medical school Johns Hopkins Medicine says to make your own cloth masks, bandannas, scarves, hand towels, or any items made of cotton or linen are a good place to start.
“Basically, thicker, more densely woven cotton fabrics are best, such as quilting cotton or cotton sheets. Stretchy knits aren’t ideal,” the hospital said on its website.
“Hold the fabric up to the light: The fewer tiny holes you can see, the better it will work to filter droplets. Overall, making a good mask involves finding a balance: You want fabric that doesn’t allow droplets to pass through while ensuring you can still breathe properly with your mask in place.”
That’s hard for a non-fabric expert but Stanford University has a helpful video on fabrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzuPIXMiK3Q&feature=youtu.be
2) What To Use For Each Layer
An early release of this piece of research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due in October has the final word.
“Protection provided by cloth masks may be improved by selecting appropriate material, increasing the number of mask layers, and using those with a design that provides filtration and fit. Cloth masks should be washed daily and after high-exposure use by using soap and water or other appropriate methods.”
The outermost layer should be made of a water-resistant fabric such as a combination of cotton and polyester, nylon or rayon, Stanford says.
The middle layer should either be a polypropylene – a spunbond material used in some reusable grocery bags, mattress covers and craft projects – or a three-ply disposable facial tissue like Kleenex.
Finally, the innermost layer should be a wicking material to draw moisture away from the face. Pure cotton fabrics are recommended.
3) Sewing Them Together
Here’s how to “sew your own cloth mask” guide from John Hopkins: