Recent studies carried out by scientists all over the world have found out that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus are “asymptomatic”, meaning they lack symptoms and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.
In light of this new evidence, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control recommends in its advisory, published on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, the wearing of face masks, (or equivalent) as an optional additional layer of protection to other measures such as physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene measures in Nigeria. The mask can be improvised, that is, they can be made out of cloth or other materials.
Also, due to the shortage of medical masks, a lot of counties are taking initiative by mandatory the members of the public to use improvised masks, thereby reserving the surgical masks or N-95 respirators for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, who are in the frontline.
Where can you wear a cloth face mask?
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. (e.g., shopping outlets, markets, shops, supermarket, stores, and pharmacies).
Who should not use a cloth face mask?
CDC stated that cloth face coverings should not be placed on the following set of people
• Young children under age 2,
• Anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious,
• Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
How do you wear a cloth face mask?
Picture from CDC
Cloth face coverings according to CDC should—
• fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
• be secured with ties or ear loops
• include multiple layers of fabric
• allow for breathing without restriction
• be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to the shape
Should cloth face masks be washed or otherwise cleaned regularly? How regularly?
Yes. They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.
How does one safely sterilize/clean a cloth face covering?
A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.
How does one safely remove a used cloth face mask?
Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.
How to make a cloth face mask?
According to the CDC, making a cloth face mask is divided into two categories; Sew and No Sewn method.
1. Sewn Cloth Face Mask: In this method, you make use of a sewing machine
• Two 10”x6” rectangles of cotton fabric
• Two 6” pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strips, or hair ties)
• Needle and thread (or bobby pin)
• Sewing machine
1. Cut out two 10-by-6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric. Use tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. T-shirt fabric will work in a pinch. Stack the two rectangles; you will sew the mask as if it was a single piece of fabric.
2. Fold over the long sides ¼ inch and hem. Then fold the double layer of fabric over ½ inch along the short sides and stitch down.
3. Run a 6-inch length of 1/8-inch wide elastic through the wider hem on each side of the mask. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle or a bobby pin to thread it through. Tie the ends tight.
Don’t have elastic? Use hair ties or elastic headbands. If you only have a string, you can make the ties longer and tie the mask behind your head.
4. Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the mask on the elastic and adjust so the mask fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping.
2. Quick Cut T-shirt Face Covering (no-sew method)
3. Bandana Face Covering (no-sew method)
• Bandana (or square cotton cloth approximately 20”x20”)
• Rubber bands (or hair ties)
• Scissors (if you are cutting your own cloth)
Take note, wearing a mask is not a primary preventative measure and should not provide a false sense of protection that leads to a misuse of masks. COVID-19 preventative measures include the exercise of good hand hygiene and physical distancing.
Source: Centre For Disease Control and Prevention CDC