You can sew your own facial mask.
CDC’s take on Hanes T-shirt masks
We showed that a hand-fashioned mask can provide a good fit and a measurable level of protection from a challenge aerosol. Problems remain. When made by naive users, this mask may be less effective because of variations in material, assembly, facial structure, cultural practices, and handling. … Research is needed to determine the minimal level of protection needed when resources are not available for N95 air-purifying respirators since the pandemic threat from H5N1 and other possible influenza strains will exist for the foreseeable future.Dato VM, Hostler D, Hahn ME. Simple Respiratory Mask. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2006;12(6):1033-1034. doi:10.3201/eid1206.051468.
Emphasis mine. Yes, we all knew this was coming.
For the mask to be most effective, it needs to fit snugly around the sides of the face. You see people wearing masks with a gap along their cheeks, and yeah, that mask is doing nothing.
But I thought masks were not effective?
That’s not 100% accurate. So yes, virus will go through a typical mask like sand through a screen door. But if you throw a bunch of sand at a screen door at the same time, not all of the sand will get through. It will protects you from body fluids, expelled during coughing and sneezing, and it will protect people around you if the coughing and sneezing is happening to you.
How do I clean the cloth masks after use?
Boil them. 5 minutes ought to do it.
UPDATE: To clarify, we are not advocating usage of cloth masks instead of N95 respirators. Cloth masks are an emergency measure, and hopefully we will never be in the position where our health care workers are reduced to using them instead of the proper protection. HOWEVER, if you want to make yourself a cloth mask, you are free to do so.
Kassandra Appel says
A local hospital put this one out, https://www.deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask?fbclid=IwAR0hRYTMuuVRnioaJm9WgIxY3dBA2hXzuXjAB5Wpc7Aqv5HtGRQ0rHxHu-c
An excellent ‘how to’ video. Thank you
For industrious people, I heard on them View,’ that people can sew masks for hospitals and people in need.
Patricia Varble says
I am a professional seamstress. Where can I get info on where to get the n95 kits so I can make some for the local hospitals?
The home made ones will NOT be N95. They will be more like what doctors & nurses usually wear when doing procedures. This is the pattern UnityPoint in Iowa has shared: https://www.unitypoint.org/cedarrapids/filesimages/Articles/News/2020%20News/OlsonMask_wPattern_v3-USE%20THIS%20ONE.pdf
Deaconess Health in Indiana recommended this pattern: https://www.deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask
This is an easier to follow tutorial for the same Deaconess pattern: https://buttoncounter.com/2018/01/14/facemask-a-picture-tutorial/
I was just looking at this yesterday. Apparently, tea towels offer more protection than t shirts when made into masks. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258525804_Testing_the_Efficacy_of_Homemade_Masks_Would_They_Protect_in_an_Influenza_Pandemic
They do, but they are also a lot harder to breath through. https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-materials-make-diy-face-mask-virus/
Really useful link; thank you.
+1 thank you!
This is awesome and hopefully it will prevent people from stock piling the disposable ones for medical personnel.
Katie R says
Wow, that’s really great. And it seems like a pretty easy project if you’re even a little bit handy.
After the Woolsey Fire smoked up my house a year and a half ago, I ordered Vogmasks for all of us. We didn’t end up using them because we had smoke scrubbers that cleaned out the house pretty quickly, but I never regretted buying them. And here we are.
Do you have any idea of what kind of fabric is best? The article doesn’t say.
“A Hanes Heavyweight 100% preshrunk cotton T-shirt (made in Honduras) (http://www.hanesprintables.com/Globals/Faq.aspxExternal Link) was boiled for 10 minutes and air-dried to maximize shrinkage and sterilize the material in a manner available in developing countries. “
Any cotton tight weave blend will do.
Annamarie Schmidt says
also can use scrubs 2 or 3 layers thick
Thanks Ilona! I was wondering when people would realize that medical personnel wore surgical masks long before disposable ones became available.
I’m going to be making a bunch as soon as the stuff gets here. I’m diabetic so I don’t leave the house. I’ve had a really hard time finding elastic and a lot of the supplies. I have cotton quilting fabric that I’m going to use 4 layers of for the surgical type masks to donate. I couldn’t find their recommended Tshirts but I bought 5 4xlt white beefy Heavyweight cotton Tshirts. I can bleach those. I’m going to boil them for 10 minutes and air dry as recommended. My husband is a nurse and said that the ones with ties fit better so I bought a bunch of bias tape. He said the elastic stretches out over time.
Thank you on the ties vs elastic input. I’ve started gathering the things to make masks for when I go out for more food, but I wasn’t sure if elastic or ties would work better.
Great post! Very helpful! Thank you so very much!
Maria R. says
Thank you very much! Keep safe in House Andrews.
Thank you for the tip! Stay safe and healthy xx
This type of mask is useful in stopping us from infecting others as it tends to catch the droplets when we sneeze or cough and lowers the distance things travel. it can also help prevent you from spreading those nasty germs on your hands to your face. This lowers your risk factors as well.
Sadly it won’t protect you from breathing in infections. But if we do our best at social distancing these can be a 2ndary support. Also, a cool new fashion trend. Spring runway 2020 – Masks, Masks, Masks across the board 😉
According to stats, it can filter out 50% or more of viral particles. That does in fact lower your risk factor, because infection is dose-dependent.
I see that Christian Siriano is putting his staff to work sewing masks for non-medical health staffers such as administrative staff and social workers.
Wonder if it could become a trend to make masks to donate to clinics? How amazing if the readers on this blog start it? My daughter is an ED nurse. She and her coworkers are very worried about running out. She is also working on her master in nursing. Some clinical sites no longer have masks. The clinical sites that have run out are providing much needed care to those most vulnerable. Just saying…
R Coots says
A hospital system in the PNW is looking to do just that: https://www.providence.org/lp/100m-masks
I heard about that program last night (I live in the Seattle area) and the kits supplied by the hospital were all taken by volunteers. you need to use the kits they provide because for medical use the need special materials
It’s trend where I live. People reacted immediately, fabric stores are out of stock, people are buying sewing machines, everyone is sewing masks. It’s very uplifting but super sad on the other hand because even hospitals are begging for help.
there was a research done by university of cambridge researchers published in 2013. Here what they found out; https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-materials-make-diy-face-mask-virus/
or directly to the source:
Davies, Anna & Thompson, Katy-Anne & Giri, Karthika & Kafatos, George & Walker, James & Bennett, Allan. (2013). Testing the Efficacy of Homemade Masks: Would They Protect in an Influenza Pandemic?. Disaster medicine and public health preparedness. 7. 413-418. 10.1017/dmp.2013.43. This study examined homemade masks as an alternative to commercial face masks.
Several household materials were evaluated for the capacity to block bacterial and viral aerosols. Twenty-one healthy volunteers made their own face masks from cotton t-shirts; the masks were then tested for fit. The number of microorganisms isolated from coughs of healthy volunteers wearing their homemade mask, a surgical mask, or no mask was compared using several air-sampling techniques.
The median-fit factor of the homemade masks was one-half that of the surgical masks. Both masks significantly reduced the number of microorganisms expelled by volunteers, although the surgical mask was 3 times more effective in blocking transmission than the homemade mask.
Our findings suggest that a homemade mask should only be considered as a last resort to prevent droplet transmission from infected individuals, but it would be better than no protection. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2013;0:1-6).
Keep safe, keep reading (Ilona Andrews’s books among others) and keep smiling.
Ista in Sydney says
I was surprised that a cotton blend was more successful than cotton T-shirt … It’s only a few % but it helps.
Thanks for sharing. I think this is a great idea if people have to go out for food. South Korea found that something is better than nothing but fit is everything.
My husband is an anesthesiologist & I’m sewing him some masks this weekend that we can wash & he can re-wear when his hospital runs out. They’ve already said to stop changing masks between cases.
I stocked up on food on February 28th. Other than his work no one is leaving our house because we expect to get it and don’t want to spread it. Please stay home. We must all do our part to flatten the curve or our healthcare system will be overrun.
Our local hospital put out a call to all seamtresses to make masks for non-clinical visitors or for those who have not yet been diagnosed. They have very specific requirements, but it will help with the mask shortage.
I agree with what you said about the mask effectiveness. We have a few masks that we bought for home renovations a while ago. We’ll use them in the worst case scenario one of us gets sick to protect the other.
My husband worked in a hospital surgical room while going to college (cleaning, gopher etc). The first two things they taught him were: 1) how to properly scrub your hands and 2) wearing the masks were to protect the patient – not themselves.
An astonishing number of people don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom. According to the CDC only 31 percent of men and 65 percent of women wash their hands after using the bathroom.
I think now is a good time to reconsider the custom of shaking hands. Perhaps use it for formal occasions but not for common greetings. Greet with a hand wave, shaka, nameste greeting, fist bump, grip wrist / forearm, open palm, bows?
When I have gone back to work after being sick I would avoid shaking hands for another week. One person insisted on shaking my hand so I used the hand sanitizer on my desk before and after shaking. Nobody was offended.
trailing wife says
Thank you for this announcement, Ilona. I’ve been looking for some way to help beyond staying home as much as possible.
Deaconness Health System in Indiana put out a call for masks, too. They state their pattern complies with CDC protocols. It calls for sewing together two simple rectangles from tightly woven, 100% cotton fabric, then putting tucks in each side to ease over the nose (easier for us less skilled sewers!).
Different, not better. In the three days since the call went out, they’ve got enough to meet their needs, but there are plenty of other hospitals, retirement homes, clinics, doctors’ offices, and people with compromised immune systems whose need is still dire. https://www.courierpress.com/story/news/2020/03/18/coronavirus-deaconess-ask-public-provide-medical-face-masks/2865273001/
trailing wife says
I see that Kassandra Appel beat me to the Deaconess link. 😉
Kathryn Krigsman-Devine says
That is a great idea. I wonder if bra’s can be made into masks? Smaller cup sizes substitute gauze for padding inserts . Just a thought.
I still have the mask I purchased to be able to breathe after the fires in northern California last year. It fits my face well and all I had to do was stain removal of the makeup. I’ll be wearing it at work, I don’t deal one on one with the residents, so it should work well enough.
I guess I know what I’m doing with my quilting leftovers. ????
But I’m putting off stitching up family-member-specific microfiber toilet paper replacements for as long as possible. Still in denial on that one.
I believe that putting a cloth mask in the microwave for 45 seconds would also sterilize it. I remember hearing years ago that doing this with your dish rag will kill the bacteria and it does seem to work. I think viruses would be killed as well.
First od all, viruses are different than bacteria because they stop most functions outside the organism, so killing them is harder. That said, heat kills COVID-19 quite well.
Another thig is , I’m not sure how long microwaving would have to be because you have to heat the whole mask to a high temperature. Boiling is different cause there are two factors at work – heat and water – to disrupt the protein and RNA structures. Water is a powerful thing in chemistry and it distributes the heat evenly.
You can just soak the mask first and then microwave, thereby utilizing both factors.
I followed some of the links, and pillowcases were recommended in addition to t-shirts. I wonder if thread count makes a difference?
I would think so, yes. If you hold up cheap bedding (180 TC) you can see the holes. Micro-organsims just laugh hysterically as they zip on through. Thin, low thread cound sheets also would make a less effective moisture barrier and that is really what these masks are for, as has been mentioned in numerous posts. These do jot prevent co tamination, they just lower potential co tami ation/transmisson rates
It makes a difference in breathability as well, unfortunately. There has to be a balance.
Amy Sullivan says
I came across this link today. https://www.providence.org/lp/100m-masks
I don’t see how it can be stopped in the West without everybody wearing masks in public… a key feature of the East Asian countries that are battling it with success.
It’s the testing … they test everyone (Singapore, South Korea. ) That HAS to go with the social distancing… unfortunately that was botched in the USA. We are only doing a part of what should be done
David in Fremont says
Also those Asian countries (who have recent experience with SARS and/or MERS and took those experiences very seriously) have robust follow-up tracing the social circles of the infected and testing them ASAP, too.
David in Fremont says
Sorry, one more thing: I’ve seen several experts emphasizing that as long as testing is a major chokepoint in our ability to respond, we need to let the experts determine who needs a test. Showing up at a hospital expecting a test is highly counterproductive for response efforts—and for you if you happen to get infected while there.
Very helpful, thanks! I don’t know how to sew, but have emailed my mother, who used to teach high school home ec.
Unfortunately, my parents live a drive and a ferry ride away, or I use this time to learn.
Thanks for the links. My DIL does home visits for work. I’m going to check in with her to see how she’s situated. Her mom taught home ec so could make some for themselves as her dad has health issues too. The new world.
My sewing group is going to be making these. It’s an easy project to do at home that can use leftover fabric from other projects.
Hi Ilona! You’re my mothers favorite author in the entire world and definitely one of mine.
I wanted to share that Joann Fabrics is partnering with local hospitals to create face mask covers. I’m a store manager at one, and we’ve mostly sold out of all elastic but we’re trying to get easy patterns for tied masks.
Across the country we are trying to create kits of material for volunteers to sew and bring back for us to donate, so contact your local Joann for info!
I should also mention the kits are not something you have to buy! Just stop in and pick up a few, each should have materials for up to 5 adult or children sized masks.
I have a version that has a place to slide in an inserted filter panel–in my case for wildfire particulates, but they also make the N95 inserts too. Of course those are sold out right now.
Filters size: 12.5 x 8 cm/ 4.9 x 3.1 inches if you want to incorporate a pocket for them to slide into.
There are vacuum cleaner bags that are N95 particle specific that can be cut to fit in these type masks.
Masks also stop you from unconsciously touching your mouth, nose or face with your hands. So if nothing else, that is a help when you’re out and about and may have touched a contaminated surface.
Thank you, Ilona, for advocating masks. I think it would be great if wearing mask is viewed as an ordinary thing to do as a preventive measure (in addition to when you are sick — not necessary from COVID 19, but other that would cause you to sneeze or cough) and not attracting judgemental look.
Wish everyone well & stay safe!
Chris T says
I have extra filters that I bought for my vacuum cleaner that seem to be a good size for inserting into a home made mask. They are flexible and washable. Hmmm. I think I have a project to try!
Anne in Virginia says
Ilona, this isn’t about a mask, but it is health related. I just saw a video tutorial about proper handwashing technique using procedure gloves and black ink in the demonstration. It is excellent and I sent it to my son in London to show to his two children (4 and 6) how to wash their hands properly (Don’t for get the thumbs!). I offer it here in the hopes that it will be useful to everyone.
Anne in Virginia
if the fabric is not pure cotton/natural fiber, boiling for 5min might melt the fabric lol. just soak them in water with some drops of betadine or hydrogen peroxide for an hour, then wash with soapy water. or put your isopropyl alcohol in an atomizer and spritz the mask let stand for an hour, then wash with soapy water.
My mom used to wear these in the 50’s.
Check out https://www.instagram.com/masksforheroes – @masksforheroes Hospitals and other medical providers are posting their requests here. Keep in mind that many only want N95 masks, and not hand-sewn ones. But there are some that will take any. Elastic is in short supply right now, though, especially the thin corded or 1/8″ elastic that works best for these masks.
Great advice, thank you!
After you wash them, hang them outside to dry. The UV light is also good for disinfection.
Jane Rapinchuk says
Cloth masks will not keep our healthcare workers safe. 50% of viral particles get through any cloth barrier. Fine for non healthcare workers, but NOT going to cut it in a hospital. Perhaps furnace filters might offer some better Protection, but not tested yet.
I wanted to share this, which is circulating widely.
I’ve seen this posted in a few places but it needs reposting, especially when I see so many posts about Administrators threatening nurses and physicians over wearing masks.
These words were attributed to Shellie May MD.
This is a reminder that I know I needed, and I suspect all of my medical colleagues need.
This is a post for healthcare workers, doc, surgeons, nurses, aides, and EMS, but also support staff. However, I encourage everyone to read it to gain the smallest amount of understanding about what we are facing in this moment.
There is no emergency in a pandemic.
You as a healthcare worker are a force multiplier. Your training and experience is invaluable moving into this crisis. So, you’re going to be faced with some very difficult moments. You’re going to have to put your needs first.
I’m speaking specifically about PPE and your safety.
If you’re an ICU nurse, or an ICU doc, and you become infected, not only are you out of the game for potentially weeks (or killed), but your replacements could be people without your expertise. Your remaining co-workers are short staffed now, more likely to make mistakes and become ill themselves. You stop being a force multiplier and start using healthcare resources.
You going it may save the patient, it may not. But you can’t save any patients in the weeks you’re laying in a hospital bed or using a vent yourself.
People are going to die. Do not become one of them.
There is no emergency in a pandemic.
During the Ebola outbreak, people were dying. But at no point did we rush in. We took the 10 minutes to put on our PPE with out spotter. If we didn’t have proper PPE we did NOT go in.
There is no emergency in a pandemic.
You may work in long term care, and want to rush in to save a patient you have had for years. Do not go in without your PPE.
There is no emergency in a pandemic.
You may have a survivor in the room, screaming at you to come because their mother is crashing. Do not go in without your PPE.
There is no emergency in a pandemic.
A self quarantined patient has a gunshot wound and is bleeding out. Do not go in there without your PPE.
There is no emergency in a pandemic.
Doing nothing may be the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do in your life.
Many of you say, I could never do that. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from rushing in and saving my patient.
Liberian nurses and doctors did the same thing, and many did run in to help, saying PPE be damned, my patients need me.
Then they became infected, and they infected others. And they died. The didn’t help anyone after that.
Do not let the deaths of hundreds of healthcare workers be forgotten.
There are no emergencies in a pandemic.
And if you’ve read this far, aren’t in medicine, and have stockpiled N95 masks or other PPE, please give it to your local hospital. We are in need and to not be protected means we can’t help or we die.
A very timely reminder.
To clarify: Cloth masks are better than nothing according to CDC. The links above originate at Antwerp University Hospital. If people want to make masks for themselves rather than buying and stock piling, than all the better. If hospitals ASK for volunteers to make cloth masks, than volunteers should answer. How these masks should be used isn’t a decision that should be made on this blog. It’s up to each individual hospital system. We can only try our best to answer the request. I don’t think any medical professional would reach for a cloth mask over an N95 respirator, so if they are asking for cloth masks, the situation is terrible and urgent.
Side note. Please don’t start taking Chloroquine or Quinine based on President Trump’s say so. Both drugs are anti-malarials but are slightly different. Both have side effects and can effect a variety of drugs adversely. Also Quinine poisoning is a real thing if you take too much. Symptoms include ringing in the ears, blurred vision, temporary blindness and lots of other neat things. As well a small part of the world’s population is allergic to Quinine where even drinking one gin and tonic can lead to kidney failure and death. For those people it effects how their blood cells clot. Symptoms of that are headache, pain, severe nausea and vomiting. For most people you would have to drink 20 litres of tonic water to obtain the equivalent of one dose of Quinine. Please before you try taking either drug, contact your health care professional for medical advice. I know of someone who contracted malaria while travelling in the Middle East. He said that the side effects of taking Quinine when he had an attack of malaria were only slightly less than the disease itself.
I wouldn’t do anything on Trump’s say-so! That said, I do drink tonic water regularly (but only about 8 oz a day) because the quinine in it helps my legs to not cramp, which is very important to me because I walk with crutches, so I need my legs to cooperate with me. The food alternatives are tomato sauce/ketchup (which I can’t eat at all) or bananas (which I can’t eat enough of to make a difference!)
Trump giving medical advice reminds me of the Terri Schiavo case, when a senator who was also (supposedly!) an M.D. diagnosed her condition from a video clip. 🙁
We are going to leave medical trials to people who know a lot more than we do. This isn’t a conversation I’m comfortable having on this blog because it’s pure speculation at this point.
Handy list from a filter mfgr of how different types of fabric work as facemask materials.
https://smartairfilters DOT com/nas/content/live/houseandrews/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Mask-Materials-Effectiveness-1-Micron-EN-1024×744.jpg?fbclid=IwAR2URRlOCQxBFG5WOEZ72GCOwpGcjXCBZJbi1cqHdqIh9yz8_fgjphKnndY
If not able to post complete URL go to smartairfilters DOT com & check out their blog entry about how different fabrics/materials filter 1-micron stuff
My county in Oregon has requested all seamstresses/tailors contact their fave hospital to get on email list so everyone makes a standardized mask with all the same fabric composition etc.
Pipe cleaners & plastic coated plant wire are also handy for “fit” (use as trim)
Thank you so much for posting this information. I’ve forwarded the various links to my two sisters — both quilters, and one retired from work — and my mother, who is the root of all our sewing/crafting skills. I’m sure that at least my retired sister & my mother will do what they can. I’ll try making a mask for myself (my skills are kindergarten-level compared to my sisters & our mother!) for when I have to brave the grocery store (I use Hannaford’s, and they’ve had to suspend their online shopping service so they can keep the shelves in the store stocked up).
Julianne Single says
I am a health care worker. I am going to work to take care of you all, and hoping that you all will follow the recommendation to stay home, practice social distancing (which doesn’t mean becoming a hermit it means getting creative in this age of technology) and most importantly WASH YOUR HANDS!! Masks are for health care workers and first responders regular people should not need masks unless in a crowd and we should not be in crowds.
You may blow off this virus as a media circus. You may think you are young and most young people and children are only getting mild symptoms. But we are learning from our European allies that our elders are very susceptible to this disease and there are not enough intensive care beds or ventilators if we do not all take action. We can flatten the curve but everyone has to participate.
David in Fremont says
Yesterday I saw several reports that some 20% of hospitalizations and a similar percentage of ICU hospitalizations are of people under 50.
So you are correct, Julianne: we all have a duty to protect our elderly by being part of the solution, not of the problem. But also no one should think they are invincible if non-elderly.
Thank you for making me feel better about wearing a mask so I won’t touch my face… and for giving me a less expensive and environmentally-friendly way to do it!
Uljana Mayer says
Thank you for posting this good idea!
In general, with natural fibers it is best to use materials that have been washed a lot. The fibers fray and that decreases the size of the pores in woven and knitted material. You can see the difference here in research for water filtration comparing cotton cloth (saris ).
Starting with a high thread count makes sense.
Stay safe and healthy, all!
I sent a query to my sources at one of the local hospitals near where I live. As of yesterday, they are not considering using these masks here. I will query my source again.
Since I sew I have been getting numerous requests to make such masks. Since I am a RN, I have been reading the what little studies there are regarding how effective most of the mask patterns that are out there. If I were to make masks, I would want to make the most effective mask.
One hospital in the Midwest has a pattern that has a pouch where a filter is placed. The hospital places the filter in masks donated.
David in Fremont says
Re: sterilizing the masks
Last week (I think it was on NPR Science Friday, but don’t find a link) the discussion touched on sterilizing the clothes we wear out into the dangerous COVID-19 world. If frequent laundering isn’t desired, the consensus seemed to be that 30 minutes in a hot dryer (130°F) would kill any coronavirus virus they’d picked up.
Anecdotally, some friends bought an ultraviolet sterilizer and find it has burned the leaves on a houseplant 15′ away. Presumably the viruses also succumbed.
Take care, all!
David in Fremont says
Here’s a link to a 28 minute podcast discussing sterilizing our living spaces. The part discussing the dryer may be in this.
Take care, All!
Here is (another) DIY instruction link on making facemasks, this one has a PDF pattern to include a small piece of wire to ensure close fit over nose & option for including filter material. Not sure if this one has been psted already or not
Our local news had a story about people using 3m air conditioner filters in their homemade masks, and 3m commenting that it wasn’t the intended use, but wouldn’t hurt anyone.
This may seem somewhat non-sequester initially, but you never know when neurons will rub together fortuitously in someone’s mind, leading to a game changer. This is a paragraph from a 2009 NIH article “The Open-Air Treatment of PANDEMIC INFLUENZA” discussing the open air regimen that was employed in Boston during the 1918 flu. The description of the face masks is interesting:
“ The treatment at Camp Brooks Hospital took place outdoors, with “a maximum of sunshine and of fresh air day and night.”37(p1747) The medical officer in charge, Major Thomas F. Harrington, had studied the history of his patients and found that the worst cases of pneumonia came from the parts of ships that were most badly ventilated. In good weather, patients were taken out of their tents and put in the open. They were kept warm in their beds at night with hot-water bottles and extra blankets and were fed every few hours throughout the course of the fever. Anyone in contact with them had to wear an improvised facemask, which comprised five layers of gauze on a wire frame covering the nose and mouth. The frame was made out of an ordinary gravy strainer, shaped to fit the face of the wearer and to prevent the gauze filter from touching the nostrils or mouth. Nurses and orderlies were instructed to keep their hands away from the outside of the masks as much as possible. A superintendent made sure the masks were replaced every two hours, were properly sterilized, and contained fresh gauze.38”
The whole article is pretty fascinating. The discussion of the value of ventilation and fresh air has led me to open up my place and air it out much more frequently in the last couple of weeks. Also, many of us have the impulse to get out and walk in the fresh air right now as the weather is improving, and that is probably all to the good, as long as where you’re walking is not crowded. Here’s the article link:
The Open-Air Treatment of PANDEMIC INFLUENZA
Gah. “Non sequitur.” Freaking autocorrect.
I made four today in just about an hour, which included a certain amount of fiddling, or translation…not working at highest efficiency. These masks fit us nicely over the face and are comfortable–those are the pros. The downside of this design (compared with the Deaconess Health System design) is that the pieces are more curvy, so there’s more waste in fabric, and the sewing time is a little more. That said, if I were truly sewing for “production” rather than just playing with the pattern it would go much faster. The size small fits me nicely; the size medium fits my husband.
My cousin is an ICU nurse in Orange County California and they are running out of masks. Medical offices, hospitals, police and local fire departments are asking for people with masks at home to donate them, ASAP. We are all in this together so please think about donating your masks to our first responders who are in real need of them.
We’re there. My SIL is the director at a nursing home facility. THEY ARE RUNNING OUT OF MASKS. I live 2 states away and have a stack of 30 cloth (cotton woven outer and inner ‘lining’) I’m sending Monday since my cording just arrived. No deaths, but she has 3 cases in her facility and is devastated.
I’m a nurse (retired) with 4 close family members still in nursing. (sisters & aunt) One sister works in the ER. She just sent our mom a pattern for cloth masks asking if mom would make some for her and a few close friends. They’re running very low and are only allowed to use the N95 masks while doing certain procedures on confirmed cases.
She was the admitting nurse for a patient who was so sick that after being admitted they ended up coding and being resuscitated twice and then being put on a ventilator. Afterward was when they got a confirmed positive so up to that point none of the healthcare workers were using the appropriate personal protective equipment.
Now we have to wait and pray.
Joann has some instructions and videos to help with making masks as well. Some of the stores are also taking collections to be donated to local hospitals.
Also one of the biggest issues for transmitting any disease is touching your face. If you have a mask on you are more than likely not touching your face, so that really drops some of that transmission. Obviously doesnt stop aerosolized transmission, but every little bit helps
Thank you for doing this. This is a nationwide scandal..yes Ilona you are very right. We all saw this coming! I would suggest however that one check with local hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centers, etc., before donating, as to what type they want, to be sure they will accept them. Thee are a variety of patterns. Some put a section of pipe cleaner (assuming you can find them) in a channel on the top edge, where it goes over the nose, so it can be formed to fit around that a little better.
Serious PPE shortages are nationwide. I have friends who are nurses and here are short, but very disturbing comments from three of them (with permission to quote):
Nurse one: We had a theft of masks so we are at the end of those. We have gowns and gloves for now. Masks are the thing we need. We are being asked to reuse masks, mask A for all trips into room A, mask B for all trips into room B. One mask per worker. When those are out the new “looser guidelines” are saying use pretty much whatever’s handy, tissue, cut strips, etc per world health association….We still gotta show up
Nurse 2 said:
At the hospital where My daughter works someone stole a lot of masks, gloves and the protective N95 masks!
And equally disturbing, Nursing Director 3:
If there is anyone renting a room or looking for a roommate?
I have a new nurse that is being asked to move out of her housing due to the fact that she is a nurse.
On behalf of them, to anyone publicizing this, or sewing, thank you for doing your part to help our medical professionals save lives. It isn’t just CV-19 they have to be protected against.
Jonnelle Dietz says
NO! As an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and an ICU nurse for over 10 years, NO!.
Here is research as to why they don’t work. Instead reach out to your representatives to do something for health care workers. Have the average day Joe, that does not work in health care donate their PPE to healthcare professionals.
Jonnelle Dietz says
Here is the science as to why masks made from fabric are not effective, not safe, and can lead to a false sense of security.
When you are to wear a N95 mask as a healthcare professional you are tested to see what size you are, in which you put a mask on, have a hood on and have to read a phrase after an acetate spray is sprayed under the hood to see if you can taste it.
I appreciate people trying to help as this is my life as well as the lives of my friends and family who work the front lines that are at stake. I have a friend who currently is working as an ICU RN on the east coast who is being assigned one surgical mask per week as there is no stock. However, the sewing of fabric masks do not help healthcare members dealing with the patients up close & personal, especially during risky procedures, such as intubation.
Frankly, you can delete my post again, but you should understand the reality we face. Sewing masks may make someone feel better, but it doesn’t help.
I didn’t delete your post in the first place. I don’t know how many times I’ve explained this, but your browser saves a copy of the website, and then serves it to you. It’s called caching and it means that your comment will take about 15 minutes to show up.
About masks: AGAIN, nobody is advocating using cloth masks INSTEAD of respirators. The trial you site compares cloth masks to medical masks. The trial I sighted compares cloth masks to NOTHING, as in having no protection at all. Before the modern surgical masks came on the scene, cloth masks were routinely used because that was all we had and it was better than nothing. 🙂
This pattern was posted for the use by general public and in response to an appeal from a hospital for cloth masks. Here is the link: https://www.deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask. We are not going to make a judgement call regarding how these masks maybe used. That’s up to the hospital requesting them.
If a person wears a cloth mask to go shopping, it will keep them from touching their face. If they are coughing or sneezing, it will prevent the spit and mucus from flying into other people’s faces. Having a cloth mask might make regular people feel better about donating the few medical masks they’ve been saving. It is a public benefit.
We appreciate your hard work and the sacrifices you are making during this difficult time. It’s very scary right now.
The CDC is saying now that bandanas and cloth may offer some protection to thouse who are without better masks.
this link has charts as to the effectiveness of various materials of homemade masks.
Meera Gupta says
As a healthcare worker, we are absolutely expected to use nothing or these cloth masks to try and protect ourselves. Shame on you CDC and the administration pulling the strings.
Hello Ilona and Everyone,
I have a question. Based on what MOST of the medical experts, politicians, and tv personalities agree upon:
1. COVID 19 is very contagious and is spread through coughing.
2. COVID 19 droplets can contaminate the air for 3 hours.
3. The virus can live on surfaces (depending on what they are) up to 3 days.
4. Hand washing is imperative because COVID 19 can be picked up from contaminated surfaces/items days later and spread the contagion.
My question is based on the agreed upon fact that COVID 19 is spread by coughs:
If ALL Civilians Wear Cloth Masks when out doing essential tasks and Every Cough is Automatically Covered at the Source, will that help flatten the curve?
I believe that the small things we do add up to become the big differences and that
Each of us has a part in the overall solution -no contribution is too small.
Hi from Hong Kong, masks have its place in the arsenal needed to contain Covid19.
Due to SARs in 2003, we take social distancing and personal hygiene seriously. Washing hands correctly for 20sec regularly makes a difference. Closing the toilet lid before flushing matter. Staying at home – eating balanced meals & making the effort to have a good night’s sleep, exercising, telecommuting & keeping in touch with friends & family by videocalls & calls; all these actions add up to help maintain mental health during self-quarantine.
Pls see below YouTube video & read at leisure
Make your own mask: Hong Kong scientists reveal temporary solution to shortage
Arguably the safest DIY masks so far
????????passed lab tests & endorsed by Hong Kong Consumer Council (semi-gov body)
The Virus Can Be Stopped, but Only With Harsh Steps, Experts Say https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/22/health/coronavirus-restrictions-us.html
This too shall pass.
All will be well