Currently wearing a face mask has become a norm in a world of Coronavirus pandemic. But people need not wear industrial grade masks to protect themselves from the wrath of the deadly virus. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made it officially mandatory to wear masks everywhere. But it needs to be the previously declared N95 masks. As a matter of fact, people are using DIY cloth masks or are buying the same. Cloth face coverings do not work as a replacement for N95 masks, but they help minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Before you go out to buy a cloth face mask for yourself or try to make one at home, go through the following points. Here, the points explain why certain cloth coverings are better than others. The following 8 tips will serve very helpful while making your own mask.
Choose your mask’s fabric wisely
Not all types of fabric are the same. They are different in terms of spacing between each individual yarns. This means that some fabrics have larger holes, while some have tiny ones. These holes make an important point while making a mask. The virus-particles stay hidden in these holes. Therefore, the smaller the holes the better the masks. Always try to get cloth like the Canvass fabric. They have small holes.
Knit your fabric tightly
Always remember to weave your fabric tightly. This is because tight and densely woven fabrics leave very small space for fomites to settle in. When making your own masks always check if the Canvass fabrics are tightly woven. This will help limit the entry of Coronavirus.
The more the layers the better
According to recent research at Cambridge University multiple layers of fabric increase your filtration system. In return, this helps stop the entry of any virus. Always try to make masks that have at least 2 layers of fabric.
— WebMD (@WebMD) April 23, 2020
A bandana is not a mask
New research published by Missouri S&T, show the ineffectiveness of bandanas against virus particles in the air. Bandanas are loosely woven to allow the air to go in freely. This means non-filtered air will enter along with the virus particles.
Do not make masks from T-shirt cloth
Cloths from the t-shirt are not knit tightly. As a matter of fact, these knits will stretch and that leads to bigger holes in the mask. This means the virus particles will get through very easily. A t-shirt type mask is good for someone having respiratory problems as it allows free flow of air. But it is not helpful in terms of limiting virus entry.
Filters in your mask may be a safety risk
Many DIY masks have a pocket for filters. But it has the potential to harm more than it helps. Many filters consist of fiberglass, which is very dangerous if inhaled. Also, none of these filters are made for inhalation purposes.
The mask should fit properly
Other than fabric, the mask in itself is also very important. It should be just the right size for you. Because any large gaps will let particles enter your body. While short masks will lead to skin cuts behind the ear.
Last but not least,
Wearing something is better than nothing
Some people may find wearing masks uncomfortable. If a double-layer tightly woven fabric mask is uncomfortable or makes it hard to breathe, try a single-layer, lighter weight fabric or stretchier mask. These may offer less protection than a denser mask, but might be more comfortable to wear. If you don’t have access to materials to make your own mask or can’t buy a mask currently, many household fabric items will offer varying degrees of protection and are better than not wearing a face cover at all.
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Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.