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How to Make a Face Mask

 
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If anyone is sewing the pleated masks that I mentioned upthread, could you get in touch with me via PM?  These are the absolute best for allergy season (work so much better than any drug) and now that it's acceptable to wear masks in public, I would love to arrange a swap for a few in this style.
 
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S. Bard wrote:In Belgium they have asked people to sew masks to help the supply for the hospitals. They released an Instruction PDF on how to make it.
They suggest a double layered cotton design, where you can insert whatever removable filter you have at home (cut up vacuum filter for example). The design is approved by the federal health office. They say this design isn’t medical grade, but given the shortage it is the next best thing. Once you remove the filter, the mask can be sterilised by boiling to be re-used.
The pdf plus printable pattern is unfortunately written in Dutch, but there are lots of pictures, so I’m sure sewing-savvy people will have enough info with this.
If people are interested, I can look into helping with the translation.




What I like about their is that it covers nose and mouth and goes down the neck further than the regular surgical masks we see around here. they seem a bit looser too, which adds to the comfort.
 
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I felt a bit intimidated by all that mask patterns around.

So I took some time this afternoon to browse and compare patterns.

I have decided to make two, first a very simple pleated mask as featured in the first (or second) post of this thread.
I did not rethread the machine and kept the needle I had, so the seams are a bit wonky. Still it was a VERY quick knit (edit: obviously not "knit" but sewing project).
Here is the instruction I used: https://naehtalente.de/mundschutz-selber-naehen/ (in German)

The second mask has a much better fit and has been modified and enhanced over the last few days.
It has a tunnel to insert a metal piece around the nose and has room to insert an additional filter. Just make sure to make all tunnels wide enough.
The instruction has been translated to English: https://naehtalente.de/sewing-a-face-mask/
Maske_einfach.jpg
Simple pleated mask
Simple pleated mask
Maske_2.jpg
molded mask
molded mask
 
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I found these beautiful masks for sale on Life Without Plastic.  A bit expencive for my budget, espcially now.  But they also link to this article: https://time.com/5799964/coronavirus-face-mask-asia-us/?mc_cid=498bcc7368&mc_eid=01b271f2bb

They talk about how the masks aren't as good as the N95, but given the global shortage and the excess polution from disposible maks, this makes a good alternitive for those who aren't in frequent close contact with sick people.  
 
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This may have been mentioned in previous posts and I know some instructions specify two different fabrics.
It's important though so just in case.....

IF YOU ARE SEWING MASKS: Please READ this important instruction from a local Nurse Practitioner.

Big thing with the masks that we have been seeing. There needs to be a different fabric design or color used for inside and outside of mask so we can quickly tell which side has been to our face and which said has been toward a patient. Makes a difference in how you take it on and off and then put back on. Want to know which side you already had facing the patient to you don’t mistakenly put that side toward your face when you put it back on. We have had some very well intentioned people make masks that may not be the most helpful.

 
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My job, which seems more and more futile is involved with distributing PPE (masks). To say there isn't enough is an understatement at best so THANK YOU to those are making them, and that's official!

The rest of of this isn't official at all, just my thoughts. I'm not medically trained but I talk to a lot of folks that are and I read. The CDC I think, still recommends that the general public do not wear masks. I think that might be partly if not completely because there just aren't any. Also they are not a 100% protection against contracting the virus., This relates to some earlier discussion in this thread about the size of the substance being screened. A virus is a very tiny thing but they don't generally exist individually, they are contained in a droplet. In the case of Covid from what I'm hearing they may exist in very small droplets, almost in breath, not just bigger ones from coughing or sneezing.

I disagree with the CDC about wearing masks, sure they aren't 100% effective against getting it but they are extremely effective against GIVING it. Since many people can have it and not even know it, that is very important. If you wear a mask you reduce the distance you spray a sneeze from several feet to a couple inches.  So keep making and wearing those masks! Even if they are just folded over tee-shirt material, I wish everyone had them and wore them all the time. They may also remind you not to touch your face.

This is just my theory but I think an absorbent material is best especially for protecting others because it might capture the moisture in our breath thereby capturing the virus with it. I also wonder and again, just my speculation if salt might help. From what I understand salt water will not kill a virus but still, salt has some ability to kill things. That's why people who are nearly drowned in salt water recover easier than in fresh water and why it's used as preservative, that's against bacteria which of course is a different thing. Still, I think it might help but maybe only it's dry.

So I wonder if our masks were made of absorbent cotton, boiled in a saturated salt solution and allowed to dry what might happen to the virus in a droplet that encounters it. Might the moisture in the droplet, dissolve the salt and then quickly re-dry? Locking up and maybe even killing it? I don't know. If they were well made of quality material they could just be dropped back in the boiling salt solution and dried for reuse.

If I knew how to sew I think I would just use a quality wash cloth doubled over a couple times. It would have elastic around the edge to help seal it and durable elastic to hold it on. I might think about some sort of impermeable material directly over the mouth and nose. This, I theorize might force the air to travel horizontally through the material rather than straight through offering more opportunity to encounter a fiber or salt crystal.  

It might just be wishful thinking but maybe it would have a placebo effect it nothing else. As long as I think it won't hurt somehow, I think anything is wort a try, even if all it really does is make me feel a little better about it all.

I guess I need to add a little disclaimer, I don't think breathing through salt would hurt but I don't know that for sure.


 
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r ranson wrote:I found these beautiful masks for sale on Life Without Plastic.  A bit expencive for my budget, espcially now.  But they also link to this article: https://time.com/5799964/coronavirus-face-mask-asia-us/?mc_cid=498bcc7368&mc_eid=01b271f2bb

They talk about how the masks aren't as good as the N95, but given the global shortage and the excess polution from disposible maks, this makes a good alternitive for those who aren't in frequent close contact with sick people.  




Thanks for the info. At $18 a pop, they are not very affordable but I'm going to stretch for 2 [One for hubby, one for me].
*- For one, we should try to live plastic free if at all possible and we should encourage folks who help us achieve that if we can.
*- For two I'm well past the age of caring if folks look at me funny for wearing a mask: Look at the progress they've made in places where the masks are commonly worn: They are coming out of the crisis. US, not so much, so I understand the surgeon General telling us that they don't work so wee don't hoard them away from healthcare givers, but if they work for healthcare workers, why wouldn't they work for us? Even if they are less effective as the N95 surgical masks, we are not doing surgery, so a lesser mask is perfectly appropriate and affords us more protection than NONE.
*- For Three, Wisconsin used to be among the top 3 in the production of hemp, and now that it is OK to grow hemp again, it would give a lot of farmers additional income if we buy products made with hemp. so thanks again for the very informative post!
 
r ranson
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I like the masks the people were wearing in this news story

 
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Judith Browning wrote:This may have been mentioned in previous posts and I know some instructions specify two different fabrics.
It's important though so just in case.....

Want to know which side you already had facing the patient to you don’t mistakenly put that side toward your face when you put it back on.  


That seems pretty easy to ensure with a simple marking of some kind. If there's not already some contouring and stitching that makes it clear, write "Inside" on the face side or draw a smiley on the outside, for example.
 
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David W.: I like the idea of drawing a smiley on the outside of the mask. In spite of dire times, or perhaps because of them, and with a mask, the inability to be seen smiling by others, it is all the more important to wear a smile. a big dimension of our humanity disappears when we do not offer smiles to those we interact with.
 
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Beth Wilder wrote:

Judith Browning wrote:I wonder about using some of the non woven things used in clothing construction like pelon or some other interfacing fabric sold by the yard (or something similar to the vacuum cleaner bags mentioned in Anne's quote above) that might filter but not make such a humidity pocket behind the mask like a cotton fabric does?


Someone in my local fiber arts guild said, "I've just learned that the filtration membrane in a surgical mask is meltblown polypropylene. Better known to BFAGsters as nonwoven fabric interfacing! A layer of this in your diy surgical masks might be a good idea!" What do you-all think? That in between a couple layers of cotton? It should help hold the mask's shape away from the face, too. This Instructable is the pattern folks around here have started to use, I believe.



I also discovered this fact a few days ago but I also learned that the actual filtration piece that goes in the middle is permanently electrostatically charged non-woven fabric. Also, many masks and filters are made from meltblown non-woven fabric include furnace filters!

Also, I have seen mask designs with pocket insertion for CPAP 2.5 filters and CPAP HEPA filters.
 
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I really like the masks that R Ranson posted a picture that look like red bandanas.  

I liked Cecile idea of drawing a smiley.

Here are some example of smiley if someone wants to get creative! Just for fun or maybe for kids.







 
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Thanks for the options in patterns y'all posted links to.

This is the one I used, for my personal mask, if I have to go to the grocery store (max once a week, in the first hour after they open). I modified it to have more of an overlap at the opening, to make air have to go through all the layers, and used a larger non-rusting wire for forming to the nose instead of a twist-tie. Remarks suggested different colors or patterns for front and back materials, to know which way to wear it, if you have to reuse before cleaning.
pattern

I cut apart a Hepa filter vacuum cleaner bag and used the inner lining as a replaceable insert. I take it out when I wash/sterilize the mask, then replace with a new piece. I don't have any data to support its effectiveness, but it seems like it would be better than just the two layers of cotton.

Here's an article showing effectiveness and breathability of different materials used
what materials to use

These are not the N95 masks that are needed on the front lines. This style is supposed to be to stop you from sneezing on someone else. It may, however, be better than nothing, and it keeps you from touching your face.

Stay well, y'all.
 
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Here's a link to a helpful Google doc about the importance of wearing a mask. It has a link to a research paper on the effectiveness of different kinds of masks.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258525804_Testing_the_Efficacy_of_Homemade_Masks_Would_They_Protect_in_an_Influenza_Pandemic

I am also quoting Adrien Lapointe again:

Adrien Lapointe wrote:Here is an interesting article about the efficiency of the homemade masks.

https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/diy-homemade-mask-protect-virus-coronavirus/



Also, I would like to add this. I have joined a group of people who are trying to figure out ways to repurpose hospital equipment to sanitize n95 masks for re-use. I am just reading through what they are doing. But from what they have gathered, in order to sanitize the masks, you got to heat treat masks to 70 degrees Celsius or 158 degrees Fahrenheit for half and hour. I think ideal is 80 degrees Celsius to kill C-Diff spores if in a hospital setting. So if you are going to sanitize your masks using heat, be sure that it can produce temperatures up to 70 degrees Celsius or higher. Some have placed masks in jar and boil the jars.

You could also use a bleach solution, though I don't know the ratio, for low temp sanitation.

One thing to keep in mind, use only the method that will not degrade the integrity/quality of your masks quickly. For example, UV-C sanitation methods can degrade n95 masks quickly.

And the very last thing, this is something that some hospitals are doing. They are writing names and dept on their n95 masks, bagging them in brown bags that also has a person's name on it. After sanitation, a strike is put on the mask to keep track of how many times it has gone through the sanitation process. I think only one person handles the sanitation process to limit cross-contamination. If you live with family or more people and all your masks are the same, this might be a helpful process to keep track of who's masks.
sanitation-masks.png
[Thumbnail for sanitation-masks.png]
 
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Here's some more information on how and why home-sewn cotton face masks can be useful.  https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/volunteers-are-sewing-homemade-face-masks-but-are-they-effective-1.4865858



What should homemade masks be used for?

Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, an infectious diseases specialist, said he doesn’t think that most of Canada’s health-care institutions are in a “dire situation” in terms of shortages of N-95 masks. However, he said that may be a problem in some of the country’s urgent care and family medical clinics.

The federal government said they have secured millions more masks for health-care workers in the country, while other industries, such as educational institutions and dental facilities, have been asked to turn over their supplies.

While Sharkawy said there may not be a use for homemade masks in the country’s hospitals just yet, he said they can be used in the home, especially by people who are caring for someone with COVID-19.



Are homemade masks effective?

While he doesn’t recommend them for doctors and nurses working directly with COVID-19 patients, Sharkawy said homemade face masks can offer some protection against the virus. He said homemade face masks can be made using cotton or even an anti-microbial pillowcase.

“You can use pretty much anything that is going to withstand a little bit of moisture and be rewashed,” he said.



USA CDC keeps updating their page to include reuseable and alternatives to medical-grade facemasks.


Yesterday morning I was able to get a private shopping appointment at a small grocery store to pick up some perishables and pasta.  There were two customers in the store and one staff member.  It was brilliant!  We took the long drive home because it's nice to get out and about, and it was interesting to see all the different people.  Over half the people were wearing masks and the majority of those masks were construction dust maks or cotton masks.  Some shops had ques outside due to limits on how many people are inside at any time.  Social distancing is getting really serious here - which is wonderful!  But I'm hearing whispers of people being shamed for not wearing masks in public.  

 
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I'm *really* hard to fit for most things, so I tried sewing one of the shaped masks. I made a pair and gave them to my son's girl-friend, then printed the "children's"pattern for me - yeah, much better fit:


Soo... yes, I don't have 1/4" elastic in stock and yes, most of the shops are closed.
Solution I used - I made the casing's larger, sewed a loop on one end of a piece of elastic and a button at the right spot on the other end. Now I can move my pair of "elastics" from mask to mask as I need to launder them, and if I think I need to seriously boil the mask to kill stuff, I can remove the elastic and wash it a little more gently in the hopes it will last. If you look at the picture, you'll see the button by my ear.

Elastic alternatives -1.  I used the round stuff salvage off a back pack
2. Harvest off an old pair of underwear.
3. Cut circles of material off the top of a lonely or holey sock
4. Cut a rubber band and staple it on.
5. Use a loop and a much larger button on a strap- my button is just to get the elastic on and off the mask, so I can see what I'm doing. If you don't have give in the system, you'll want something easy to do by feel.

The point is, look for alternatives if you don't have sewing elastic - it's more important to stay safe than make a fashion statement!

Fabric alternatives - This is another spot where there's a lot of controversy. There's a big difference between a two layer mask to keep a civilian safer and help them not spread the virus by coughing at the wrong moment, and our Hospital staff that need the absolute best they can get.

The mask I made with flannel inside (from the edge of a bed sheet that was worn out in the center) and cotton outside was easier to sew on my machine than the one in the picture which is flannel inside and T-shirt material outside. I think having at least one "fluffy" layer, like flannel, is recommended, but there's a lot of different opinions out there. Something reasonable is better than nothing, so I'd look in your rag bags and the back of your closet for anything that is stained or old that you're willing to cut up.
 
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Great hack with the button closure, Jay.

I have received a phone call from my SIL today asking me for some masks. She is afraid that she will not be able to go shopping in the next days without wearing a mask.

So I whipped up some more.
For those who don't have elastic, you can easily cut a long strip of cotton jersey to make string for closure. You cut up the hem of an old t-shirt for example as you can't use it anyway for other things.
Here are two models again, both with jersey strips for closure.

Then I made two more masks for the family. Daughter #1 requested one in black. We shared the work and first made a test mask. This was a bit too big, so I cut down the smallest size. Husband donated one of his black T-shirts for this. The fit was much better this time. I have permission to show it here.

Tomorrow I plan to go grocery shopping and will wear a mask.
jersey_closure.jpg
Home made masks
Home made masks
black_mask.jpg
Cool black home made mask
Cool black home made mask
 
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Anita Martin wrote:

This was a bit too big, so I cut down the smallest size.

Excellent job! A poorly fitted mask will not do as good a job and it is worth doing this right. I'm sure you'll find someone who fits the first attempt and needs one. If you've got a tiny face, I suspect the design with the wire makes a big difference - it definitely does with me, as without it, the mask tends to slide up into my eyes and then I'm constantly re-adjusting it which defeats the purpose!
 
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As far as masks (and the material to make them from) go, here are some thoughts.

This was a good article about the advantages of everyone wearing masks: Simple DIY masks could help flatten the curve - Washington Post March 28, 2020

I already had a re-useable mask for myself pre-COVID outbreak because I am very prone to catching the flu.  I have an itchy nose, and if I'm not wearing the mask, I end up scratching it.  :-)  I suspect  that is a big part of the value of the masks, rather than keeping out viral sized particles.  But keeping out particles with household fabrics has been studied, it turns out.

Here's a little graph showing the effectiveness of different materials for masks for preventing infection:  



That's from this website: https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-materials-make-diy-face-mask-virus/

Here's a quote about those findings above:

On average, the homemade masks captured 7% fewer virus particles than the larger bacteria particles. However, all of the homemade materials managed to capture 50% of virus particles or more (with the exception of the scarf at 49%).



Then they report on double-layering - they found it wasn't much more effective.

And now it gets interesting - breathability:



And said this:

Although the tea towel and the vacuum bag captured the most particles, they were also the hardest to breath through. With two layers, the tea towel was over twice as hard to breathe through as the surgical mask. In contrast, the pillow case, t-shirt, scarf, and linen were all easier to breathe through than the surgical mask.

Based on particle capture and breathability, the researchers concluded that cotton t-shirts and pillow cases are the best choices for DIY masks....

Bottom line: Test data shows that the best choices for DIY masks are cotton t-shirts, pillowcases, or other cotton materials. These materials filter out approximately 50% of 0.2 micron particles, similar in size to the coronavirus. They are also as easy to breathe through as surgical masks, which makes them more comfortable enough to wear for several hours.

Doubling the layers of material for your DIY mask gives a very small increase in filtration effectiveness, but makes the mask much more difficult to breathe through.




Interesting that someone thought of vacuum cleaner bags..  I don't think I would have thought of that, as I associate them with dirt!  Clever.  Now I'm going to be looking around the house to make some more.
 
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Kim Goodwin wrote:

Then they report on double-layering - they found it wasn't much more effective.

Two layers may not be advantageous so far as filtering is concerned, but the shaped one I made is as easy, or easier due to the wire for the nose, to sew out of two layers. It also allows you to use a good filter on the inside, but potentially prettier fabric on the outside. All the masks I made (total of 8 for 4 different people) have flannel sheet as the inner layer, and a variety of cotton's for the outer layer. It allowed me to choose fabrics that the user would like and that looked as nice as possible for the wearer. If we've all got to start wearing these as a culture, I see no reason not to have a little fun with them. I was tempted to sew one of those little animal-shaped buttons onto my purple one pictured above, but I wasn't sure it would tolerate boiling if I get to the point that boiling is required. If we want people to wear them, being a little fun with them and making sure they fit, seems like a good approach.
 
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i'm loving all these ideas for diy masks, but my biggest concern is the gap around the nose. Maybe sewing in a few pipecleaners or other type of wire? or maybe cliping it to the nose with a clothespin? i kid but not really.
 
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Vanessa Alarcon wrote:i'm loving all these ideas for diy masks, but my biggest concern is the gap around the nose. Maybe sewing in a few pipecleaners or other type of wire? or maybe cliping it to the nose with a clothespin? i kid but not really.

I used a scrap of aluminium alloy welding wire in the sewn pocket. It has a little spring to it, but it holds its shape. It's fit better than any mask I've ever worn.
Of coarse, that will require you to be friends with a welder! The scrap came from a welding course offered at a local community college.
 
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Jay Angler wrote:

Vanessa Alarcon wrote:i'm loving all these ideas for diy masks, but my biggest concern is the gap around the nose. Maybe sewing in a few pipecleaners or other type of wire? or maybe cliping it to the nose with a clothespin? i kid but not really.

I used a scrap of aluminium alloy welding wire in the sewn pocket. It has a little spring to it, but it holds its shape. It's fit better than any mask I've ever worn.
Of coarse, that will require you to be friends with a welder! The scrap came from a welding course offered at a local community college.



shoot! i would be willing to buy a roll of it on amazon! thanks for the tip Jay!
 
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This German sewist designed a model without wire, instead she uses darts around the nose.
You can take a look here:
https://www.ellepuls.com/

I don't think you need to actually download the pattern. If you have a bit of experience, you could take a look at the placement and depth of darts and improvise on the pattern you already have (I have printed the pattern, but not made one mask yet).
 
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The gap is one of the reasons why I like the pleated face masks best.  They don't have to have a custom fit.
 
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My teen has been following along with a youtube video one of their friends parents recommended. So far we have donated about a dozen masks. We can't find any more elastic so I will have to order that online. To my understanding these homemade masks are not for use on covid-19 patients. The mom that was organizing this here said the masks are going to regular doctors and nurses who are seeing non covid patients but they still need to wear masks around them.
 
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My daughter and I are making masks using the patterns on this page: https://www.craftpassion.com/face-mask-sewing-pattern/

I like it because it's fitted and they have sizes for kids and adults.  Here is mine, in the teen/woman size:
fullsizeoutput_1773.jpeg
Home made cotton fabric mask
Home made cotton fabric mask
 
Julia Winter
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This is what the pattern looks like (you just print on regular paper and cut it out).
RenderedImage.jpg
Fabrics and pattern for home made masks
Fabrics and pattern for home made masks
 
Julia Winter
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We are using aluminum for the nose bridge - it's scraps from skirting a mobile home.  Thicker than aluminum foil, but I can cut it with tin snips.

I'm cutting a piece a bit less than 1/2 inch wide and 4-6" long, with rounded corners.  It gets sewn into the top edge - you can see the stitching in the finished mask.

We don't have elastic, so we're using 4 pieces of cord to tie in two places.  I like being able to adjust the tightness and location - wearing a mask for hours (like I do at work) can lead to sore ears!

The key thing to remember is that a mask like this is for the protection of others.  It also protects you MOSTLY in that it keeps you from touching your nose and mouth, but mainly "my mask protects you, and your mask protects me."  We don't know if we have COVID-19 or not, we need to assume that we do, to stop the spread.

I'm wearing the fabric mask all day, for baby well checks, med checks, etc. If my patient has significant COVID symptoms, we are setting up video visits.  If my patient has a cough, I have an N95 - one, that is kept in a ziplock bag on my desk.  I don't have a full bunny suit, but I'm in a pediatric office, not an emergency room or hospital.
 
pollinator
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I can't do this facemask-making. My sister doesn't have one and she works with handicapped people, her co worker got COVID now, i freaked out. I'm in another country. It seemed the same here, luckily i knew a woman who has a small sewing business. She looked into it, i send one of the designs of the Belgian government.
She made two to try, which i've collected. They have a little opening, you can put a filter in. People use cut up respirator bags.
There is no metal involved as of yet, so it's a bit open at the nose.
FACEMASK.jpg
[Thumbnail for FACEMASK.jpg]
 
Vanessa Alarcon
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Hi! Just came across this youtube video from a Doctor whose wife made him, what he considers, "the perfect mask". Im going to have to write down the link because my browser won't allow me to copy from youtube so i hope it works; but if it doesn't, the tile is:
A Doctor Explains How to Make the Safest Face Mask
by Dr. Ryan Southworth
 
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As a nurse, I really thought wearing masks in public was silly but then I read a well researched article on the statistics of mask wearing cultures versus non such as our own.  Mask wearing cultures are doing FAR better.  Since Covid19 is thought to spread by droplet and contact, an N95 mask is not required.  Any comfortable mask with at least a double layer, preferably with a pocket for a filter, will be useful in stopping spread.  Gloves in public are not a good idea unless you plan on taking them off, sanitizing hands and putting new ones back on every time you get in and out of the car.  Carry a pocket sized hand sanitizer and a disposable paper towel for hands and cart handles instead.  Our hospital has posted a mask pattern so I know that wearing a home sewn mask may soon be a possibility, but nursing homes and home health workers need them now.
 
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(cut up vacuum filter for example).



Sharing research that a co-worker posted to our work mail-list (our work has been work-from-home since 2nd week of March).

Testing the Efficacy of Homemade Masks: Would They Protect in an Influenza Pandemic? https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness/article/testing-the-efficacy-of-homemade-masks-would-they-protect-in-an-influenza-pandemic/0921A05A69A9419C862FA2F35F819D55/core-reader source: Cambridge University, published 2013 (also posted by the NIH but less easy to read the report there)

Here's one table of fabric findings:



One comment struck me about fit, and not fabric: "Although any material may provide a physical barrier to an infection, if as a mask it does not fit well around the nose and mouth, or the material freely allows infectious aerosols to pass through it, then it will be of no benefit"

So a pliable vaccum bag interfaced between cotton that can stretch over a variety of face types is probably the best a homemaker can do.  Looks like some sewers have figured out how to secure their masks around a nose ... probably the hardest part.

Also, bye-bye beards.

The CDC went further and posted a visual that basically says all beards prevent a proper fit of facemasks: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/pdfs/FacialHairWmask11282017-508.pdf

 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Apparently, we can forget about the N95 surgical face mask. This one is the Trojan of face masks because of the fabric it uses: Halyard fabric H600 which blocks 99.9% of particulates and which is used to lay sterilized equipment on.
It is rated 4% better than the N95 and is a fabric that is commonly used in hospitals. Here is an article about it:
https://www.news-press.com/story/news/2020/03/27/university-of-florida-develops-masks-using-materials-already-found-hospitals/2924471001/
"That fabric, they say is available at any hospital that sterilizes equipment." [One should hope that means *every hospital*] so most likely, the common of mortals might not be able to lay their hands on the precious stuff, but if you have a hospital nearby, you might let them have the link so they could make their own as this would be a good way to recycle/upcycle their Halyard H600 fabric which is used to lay sterilized equipment on.
It has been though of by an MD and passed the respirator rest so it should be really good. This is how to make it:
https://anest.ufl.edu/wordpress/files/2020/03/PROTOTYPE-1-TUTORIAL.pdf
 
r ranson
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Conclusion: homemade masks might be the most popular fashion accessory of 2020.

In the media over the last few days, there's been a push for the general population to wear homemade masks when they leave the home.

- keep the proper masks for the healthcare workers - they need it the most as they are risking their lives to keep us safe.
- homemade cotton mask have an average of 50% protecting (which is so much better than zero) a healthy person from catching this (so long as they still wash their hands obsessively and don't touch their facE).
- but where homemade cotton masks really shine is preventing sick people from sharing the virus in their droplets (coughing, speech, breathing).

Now the media has taken the next step in the argument and added one important element

- asymptomatic people can shed the virus.  

So you can be a carrier and have no symptoms.  Asymptomatic people shed far less of the virus so the original idea was that it isn't a problem.  But in the last week or two, we've learned more about the virus and... to put it in an excessively oversimplified way... the virus is more 'sticky' than normal virus so we don't need to come in contact with as much to catch it.  

- anyone can be a carrier

which means

- everyone is a potential carrier.

The media concludes that everyone should be wearing masks, not so much to protect themselves, but to protect others in case they are a carrier.  When using masks to STOP the spread of droplets, the mask doesn't have to have as strong a filtering properties nor does it have to have a perfect fit.  Like the plexiglass barriers in supermarkets, it doesn't need to be 'airtight', it needs to stop the spray.

Which leads us to the final point

- homemade masks are a simple way to stop the spread of the illness




I can understand why officials are slow to adopt this

1. If we have a huge die-off of doctors, nurses, and other front line workers, we won't have the skills to help people.  These people NEED MASKS and each disposable mask we wear reduces their ability to be safe.
2. Staying home and away from other humans offers far more protection than even the best mask.  It doesn't matter the filtration rate, there is so much user error that the best mask isn't going to be much better than a scarf on someone who isn't trained and experienced in wearing masks day in and day out.
3. The fear masks will give overconfidence and reduce handwashing (which is far more successful at stopping the spread than masks) and lead to lax social-distancing.  


I think if we can get people to understand masks aren't a substitution for social distancing and handwashing, the media might be on to something.  Homemade masks might make a big difference to reducing the spread.  But there is a genuine concern that saying this will take supplies away from those who need it most.  
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