Some Hospitals are Requesting Homemade Surgical Masks
Some hospitals and clinics accepting donations of homemade face masks. Organizations like Masks for Heroes have a searchable database of facilities currently seeking donations. If you are wondering where you can donate masks, they can help you find a hospital or clinic that needs them. Before you spend time sewing a large batch of masks to donate, please call first to ask if they are accepting them. You should ask if this pattern (2 layers of fabric with a pocket for additional disposable inserts) will meet their requirements. You should also ask about drop-off/pick-up procedures.
People are starting to get creative when it comes to homemade face mask and coverings — from making headbands with buttons to prevent chafing around the ears to clear coverings over the mouth so their lips can be read. They’re even using 3D printers to make face shields and mask accessories. Face coverings like these are now a common sight in grocery stores, public transportation, pharmacies and even on the streets. Some states and counties now require residents to wear face masks in public in an effort to slow the spread of the corona virus.
The Best Fabric to Use to Make A Face Mask
Researchers at Cambridge University tested the effectiveness of a wide range of household materials for use in homemade masks. They measured how well the household materials could capture and filter small particles. Test data shows that the best choices for DIY fabric masks are cotton t-shirts, pillowcases, or other cotton materials. Using a double layer of material for your DIY mask adds a small increase in filtration effectiveness. Other research has found that most effective masks were constructed of two layers of heavyweight quilters cotton with a thread count of at least 180 and had a thicker and tighter weave.
Homemade face masks may not be able to block out every particle and are not guaranteed to keep you from acquiring the corona virus, but they can help in some circumstances (more below). The severe shortage of N95 masks, which help protect medical professionals like doctors and nurses from acquiring the corona virus, has meant that ordinary citizens needed an alternative to help slow the spread. (Earlier this week, the FDA approved a sterilization process for N95 masks to help cope with the shortage).
We know you must have questions, so we’re breaking down what you need to know about making, wearing, buying and donating masks, from hand-sewn masks to no-sew coverings and even bandannas attached to your ears with hair ties. (As an alternative to making your own, you can also find and buy a face mask online).