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How to make face masks and how effective these are to prevent

With the alarming rise of Mortality in countries all around the world, The Coronavirus or COVID-19 as it is officially known is, has become a major threat to the entire world. For most, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for a few, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia. This is leading to a frightening rise in mortality among the patients who are already suffering from Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Chronic respiratory disease, Hypertension, cancer as well as age-related issues.

Current WHO Report suggests that the two main routes of transmission of the COVID-19 virus are respiratory droplets and contact from an infected person. Respiratory droplets are generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Any person who is in close contact (within 1 m) with someone who has respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing) is at risk of being exposed to potential infection. Droplets may also land on surfaces where the virus could remain viable; thus, the immediate environment of an infected individual can serve as a source of transmission.

It has also been proven that people infected with COVID-19 could transmit the virus before symptoms develop. And thus it is important to recognize that pre-symptomatic transmission still requires the virus to be spread via infectious droplets or through touching contaminated surfaces.

Thus it is highly recommended that everyone uses facemasks to protect themselves and others as well. However, there has been a major shortage of facemask all over the world, with many stranded without a mask or the means to get one. This holds for many of the hospitals as well with many medical personnel lamenting on the fact that they don’t have enough medical protective/preventive equipment to handle the situation as needed.

WHO stresses that medical masks and respirators must be prioritized for health care workers. Thus it has become more eminent to develop these masks for everyone to safeguard themselves and it is also a mistake to ensure that those masks are protective and not flimsy to use. Here are a few Methods to procure a washable face mask for yourself at home using materials readily available and precautions to use one-

Make a Face mask using a Sewing Machine, Any used cotton cloth can be used to make washable face masks. The color of the fabric does not matter but you must ensure that you wash the fabric well in soap water or boiling water for 5 minutes and dry it well before making the face cover. Adding salt to this water is recommended.

Photo Credits: International Business Times Buy Reusable Face Masks | View Details

Important precautions for using reusable or homemade face masks-

  1. Thoroughly wash and clean the face mask before wearing it.
  2. Sanitize or wash your hands before wearing a mask.
  3. As soon as the face mask becomes damp or humid, switch to another face mask and drop the used mask in soap water or keep it aside wrapped.

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Precautions when removing reusable or homemade face masks-

  1. Avoid touching the front of the face mask, remove it with strings behind.
  2. For string face masks, always untie the below strings and then above to prevent any difficulty or infection.
  3. After removing the face mask. immediately clean your hands with soap water or sanitize thoroughly.
  4. Always drop the masks into a soap water or boiling water, DO NOT use it again without washing, as it will reverse the motive.

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Homemade or reusable face masks reduces the chances of inhaling the droplets still in the air from an infected person. They do not give 100% protection, but can be very effective and economical, if practicing social distancing. One of the most important points is to wash and clean the masks everyday post usage as instructed above. Never reuse a face mask without washing it with soap water. Sharing of the mask should be a BIG NO, and one of the most important habits to prevent COVID-19 is practicing social distancing at all public places.

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