Most of us are stuck at home and the more fortunate of us are merely apprehensive or bored. Not knowing what’s going to happen is a scary, but think about it-when did we ever know what the future held? And if we did, who among us is smart enough to know what to do with it? With brings me to today’s question:
Should we wear face masks to protect ourselves from the coronavirus? Here’s one point of view. Here’s the other. This link goes to an article that says that DIY face masks can offer protection from coronavirus. I am not prepared to debate this with anyone because I simply don’t know the answer. I have resolved this question for myself with an “off label” application of Pascal’s wager. I know that wearing a face mask does not offer immunity or an excuse to dispense with hand washing, etc. But if you are already taking all the precautions you can, how can it hurt? That leaves the question of where to get face masks. They have become a precious commodity.
I already have some N 95 respirators that I use for enameling and metalwork. But you can’t wash them and they say to throw them away after one use. Who knows how long the pandemic will last? I need a better face mask option. For me, the option is to make some face masks. Will they offer any protection? As you can see from the chart below, certain materials offer more protection than others.
I don’t have many vacuum cleaner bags, but I have many dish towels (a more accurate description would be old fashioned tea towels-a closely woven cotton fabric made for drying dishes and glass ware). Here is a link to the kind of tea towels you would use to make face masks. I would not use terrycloth or micro fiber. You have to breathe while you wear the mask.
There are many sites with directions for sewing face masks. Most of them use two or three layers of material. The tea towel fabric is tightly woven, however, so you will have to adapt any pattern you use to make it work for you. A single layer with a thin cotton fabric as a liner might be best. I plan to experiment.
Here are some links if you are interested in making face masks.
Medical Mask for cancer or COPD patient (including child’s masks)
And here is some helpful advice from Ana Belchi
Since I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago, the CDC has changed its no face mask position. The CDC now advises that wearing non-medical grade face masks might help to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. For instructions on how to make a no-sew face mask, press here.