Health

The Best Materials for Your DIY Masks #Masks4All

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Wearing a homemade mask may not be as effective at protecting you from getting a virus as a surgical mask would be. Most materials you have at home can not filter out ALL the tiny viral micro particles and stop them from reaching your respiratory track.  These particles come out of our mouths when we talk and can be spread into the air at higher velocities when we cough and even greater velocities when we sneeze. 

So what’s the point? Why wear a mask?

How to Significantly Slow Coronavirus #Masks4All

A KEY ARGUMENT FOR USING HOMEMADE MASKS:

Homemade masks are partly effective in individual protection, but they are essential for slowing the spread of the virus in the population. The main outcome of our studies was that they stop around 95-100% of viruses that people are emitting by your breath, sneezing, and coughing.

People are the most contagious first days without symptoms, that’s why we need masks for all. We have successfully tested the hypothesis at two main technical universities and it is highly recommended by a team of experts COVID CZECH under the coordination of the president of Czech Technical University in Prague.

The team consists of a virologist, epidemiologist, doctors with specialization in population protection, chemists, and physicist with specialization if filtration. This group is an advisory expert group for the Czech government in Prague. Now it is obligatory to wear masks in the whole country.

Please share and help to spread the key message that can save lives and slow the pandemic.”

#Masks4All: “I protect you, you protect me.”

Covid-19 Spread by Micro Droplets

This is a very interesting look at what happens to micro droplets when they come out of your mouth, from talking, coughing and sneezing. It looks at air flow in a room and how that effects how long the droplets will remain in the air.

Watching this video really helped me see the need to wear a mask while going out for the essentials.

Scientific Studies

A list of 33 studies confirming the effect of masks.

“We conclude that population-wide use of face masks could make an important contribution in delaying an influenza pandemic. Mask use also reduces the reproduction number, possibly even to levels sufficient for containing an influenza outbreak.” Brienen, Nicole CJ, et al. “The effect of mask use on the spread of influenza during a pandemic.” Risk Analysis: An International Journal 30.8 (2010): 1210-1218.”

“Any type of general mask use is likely to decrease viral exposure and infection risk on a population level, in spite of imperfect fit and imperfect adherence, personal respirators providing most protection.” – van der Sande, M., Teunis, P., & Sabel, R. (2008). Professional and home-made face masks reduce exposure to respiratory infections among the general population. PLoS One, 3(7).

“However, during a severe pandemic when use of face masks might be greater, pandemic transmission in households could be reduced.” MacIntyre, C. R., Cauchemez, S., Dwyer, D. E., Seale, H., Cheung, P., Browne, G., … & Ferguson, N. (2009). Face mask use and control of respiratory virus transmission in households. Emerging infectious diseases, 15(2), 233.

Davies, A., Thompson, K. A., Giri, K., Kafatos, G., Walker, J., & Bennett, A. (2013). Testing the efficacy of homemade masks: would they protect in an influenza pandemic?. Disaster medicine and public health preparedness, 7(4), 413-418. PDF: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258525804_Testing_the_Efficacy_of_Homemade_Masks_Would_They_Protect_in_an_Influenza_Pandemic

Testing of masks at Brno University of Technology [in Czech]: https://www.fme.vutbr.cz/fakulta/media/fakulta/67648

Image from smartairfilters.com

Data shows that DIY masks made with a single layer of cotton clothing or a tea towel can remove around 50-60% of virus-sized particles.

smartairfilters.com
DIY masks made with a single layer of cotton clothing or a tea towel can remove around 50-60% of virus-sized particles. #Masks4All

You’ll Touch Your Face More If You Wear A Mask

There seems to be some concern that people will in fact touch their face more if they wear a mask, putting them at greater risk of infection.

Studies are showing that even mask material not capable of filtering out small virus particles are still showing that those wearing them have lower cases of getting sick.

How is that possible? It could be because you cannot physically touch your mouth or nose while wearing a mask.

“Wearing a mask can reduce the propensity for people to touch their faces, which is a major source of infection without proper hand hygiene,” says Stephen Griffin a virologist at the University of Leeds, UK.

bbc.com

Best Material for Your DIY Mask

We all want the most effective mask at protecting ourselves, our loved ones and others. So what material is best to use?

Next to a surgical mask the best material appears to be a doubled up dish towel. But that might not be the best for breathability. You will have to take your workload and exertion into account.

If I was going grocery shopping I might opt for the dish towel mask. If like my partner, I’m going up and down stars all day at a construction site, I may have to go down the list of material to see what is a workable combination of protection and breathability.

Image from Smartairfilters.com

Professional and Home-Made Face Masks Reduce Exposure to Respiratory Infections among the General Population ~ ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

Are Two-Layered DIY Masks More Effective?

Surly, doubling up on the material should be more effective at trapping viral particles. Suprisingly the dish towel effectiveness increased by 14% but the other material only increased effectiveness by 1-2%

I highly encourage you head over to SmartAirFilters.com to read more about the results.

Get Creative with No Sew Masks

We know the real protective measures from everyone wearing a homemade mask comes from the person wearing the mask not spreading the virus through droplets. DIY masks are not as protective for the person wearing it from getting the virus. However there are things we can do with these homemade masks to help make them even more effective at providing protection for the wearer.

I’ll add comments above each video with things you can do to improve on the design. In general, think of how you can add in insert filter to your mask.

The CDC is recommending coffee filters – Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19. As we have seen from the studies above, it appears that anything is better than nothing. But the typical filtration size of a coffee filter is approximately 20 microns. Added in between two layers of material should help.

I know I keep referencing SmartAirFilters.com, but they have done some great work at curating data and running their own experiments. Here is one they did on using a paper towel as a mask on its own. I would suggesting using a paper towel over a coffee filter.

Others have also suggested using vacuum bags and even HVAC filters. I am not comfortable with this. I feel like there is a chance I’m inhaling particles I shouldn’t be from these filters. I have no idea if this is true, I’m just not willing to take that risk, I’d want to know for sure there is no fiber glass or other harmful things in those filters before taking the risk.

Especially when it’s so much cheaper and simpler to use a paper towel.

Dish Towel Face Mask

Since dish towels seem to be one of the best materials for home made masks, I’m glad I could find this video on YouTube. It’s the same fold if you where to make the popular bandana masks. Again something extra that you could add is a filter in between the layers.

It’s also important to have a good seal. I like to add a paper clip to the top section that will go over the nose. Once you have it on, you can shape the paper clip, a garbage tie might work as well, around your nose for a better fit.

Bandana Face Mask

The same fold as the dish cloth mask above. Add in a filter and something to help seal around the nose and you’re good to go.

Sock Mask

For this sock mask, I would double it up and add a paper towel in the middle for a filter and a paper clip around the nose.

Cotton Blend T-Shirt Mask

I’ve heard a number of people say they don’t have any bandanas. The basic no sew mask is just a square piece of material. You can see in with this t-shirt mask video that it’s the exact same fold as the dish towel fold above. Here they are using hair elastics instead of rubber bands.

Again, I would add in a filter of some kind and a paper clip around the nose. lol I know I’m a broken record.

No Sew Leggings Face Mask

Another example where you can see, truly everyone can find something at home they can use to make a mask. Don’t forget a filter and paper clip for some added protection for yourself.

Although I don’t know if all leggings are made from similar material. My Sweet Legs leggings are made of polyester and spandex. You want to make sure the leggings you use are not a synthetic or a polyester because they’ve looked at the virus’s ability to survive on surfaces, and spandex is the worst.

I think you get the idea. There is no excuse not to have your own mask.

How To Properly Take You DIY Mask Off

Putting on a cloth facemask is simple. Make sure you know these important points to getting the mask on right so it will protect you and taking it off so you don’t contaminate your hands. Watch as National Jewish Health physician, Patty George, MD, demonstrates the correct way to put on and take off a cloth mask. National Jewish Health, is the nation’s leading respiratory hospital, is in Denver.

Of course I don’t need to say this, cause you already know it but I will just in case. Wearing a mask doesn’t take place of staying home, social distancing and washing your hands.

Wearing a mask is added protection for when we need to go out for necessities or if you’ve been deemed to be providing an essential service and still need to go to work.

Please stay safe.

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