Wearing a face mask is one way we can all help slow the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.
Wearing a face mask in public or community settings, especially in situations where you may be near other people, is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and many health departments all over the world.
In fact, the Nigerian government has made it compulsory for citizens to wear face masks when out and about, in the public, including when using public transport and in shops, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Choosing what mask to buy and who to buy from, however, is a minefield.
There have been reports of people receiving shoddily made masks that do not fulfill safety requirements or being charged extortionate amounts.
Some sellers are charging 10-times the standard amount for a face mask due to coronavirus demand.
Here’s to make your own fabric face masks to avoid being ripped off
Making a cloth face mask is simple, and many patterns don’t require professional sewing skills or even a sewing machine.
If you lack sewing skills to make your own fabric face or just want a quick way to make a face mask with materials at home, we’ve got you covered.
What You’ll Need to make your own fabric face:
- Tightly knit cotton material, like a T-shirt. (A scarf can work. The fabric should be big enough to fold several times and cover your nose and mouth.)
- Two rubber bands or hair ties (also here)
How to Assemble It:
- Cut the bottom 7 to 8 inches off of a T-shirt (cutting horizontally), so that you have a strip of material.
- Lay the material out flat in front of you, and turn it 90 degrees so that what used to be the bottom hem of the shirt (it’s usually double stitched) is facing left or right.
- Fold it from the bottom to the middle, and from the top to the middle. Repeat this step a second time.
- Loop a rubber band or hair tie around each end (left and right), leaving a few inches of fabric, so each side looks like a candy wrapper.
- Fold the excess material over the band, with each side meeting in the middle, adding another layer to the mask.
- Put a band over each ear, making sure the material fits snugly to your face. The pressure on your face should keep the material and rubber bands in place.
How to put on and take off a face mask
How you handle a mask can be just as important as wearing one out in public.
Before putting on a mask, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, rub your hands together thoroughly with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
When putting it on:
- hold the rubber bands or ties while securing it to your face
- avoid touching the fabric
- be sure it fits snugly
When taking it off:
- first wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
- use the straps (rubber bands or ties) to unhook or untie the mask from your face
- avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes
- drop the mask into the washing machine so it’s clean the next time you need it
Wash your hands immediately after removing the mask.
How to wear and care for a fabric face mask
- Regularly wash your mask. Ideally, wash it between each use in hot water with regular detergent. Then dry the face mask on a high-heat setting. Having more than one mask will minimize daily laundry.
- Make sure the mask covers your nose and mouth. Measure the mask on your face before you cut it out.
- Keep the mask on at all times when out in public. Don’t remove the mask or lift it up to talk to someone or adjust the fit. One tip is to check the fit before leaving your car. If the mask needs to be adjusted, make the appropriate adjustments, secure the mask, then leave your vehicle.
- Avoid touching the mask once you have it on your face. If you need to touch it, make sure your hands are clean by washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer.
- A face mask does not replace physical distancing. You still need to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and other people.
- A cloth face mask isn’t safe for children younger than 2 years of age or anyone who’s experiencing trouble breathing, is unconscious, or otherwise incapacitated, according to the CDC.
Whether you are wearing a face covering or not, the CDC still recommends that you:
- Wash your hands regularly. Use soap and water, and wash them for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is acceptable to use if you are unable to wash your hands.
- Cover your face when coughing with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
- Avoid touching your face, because you could transmit the virus from your hands into your mouth.
- Stay at home, except for essential trips outside like trips to the grocery store or to see your doctor. This is also called sheltering in place.
- Practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from other people. Avoid gatherings of 10 or more people, which should be easy because you’re staying at home.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces daily