Hey Team. During the COVID-19 pandemic masks are highly recommended to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Today I wanted to round up the current face mask options I am using at work as well as sewing for my friends and family.
So in Australia the two largest states are now recommending wearing face masks to reduce the spread of Coronavirus and COVID-19.
There are many options available and today I wanted to share three options I have personally tested. These are masks I have either purchased or made, they have good fit which is important when it comes to filtering virus particles both inhaled and exhaled.
Masks can either be home made or purchased if you are not as adept with a sewing machine.
Hand made masks:
Hand made masks are a good choice and there are many shapes you can choose from.
Key tips to look for are a good fit that covers the nose down to the chin. Coverage across the cheeks also helps aid seal and reduce leak.
One style that is highly adjustable while being easy to sew is the Olson Mask. It fits the nose and chin tightly with a better than average seal. The fit is very important for comfort and safety. The pattern with the highest “ready to go” size range is the Jesse Mask.
You can download the pattern here: https://media.rainpos.com/220/jessemask.pdf
There is a video that explains it but it’s very wordy.
If you are short on elastic, you can use hair ties with the Jessie Mask.
The latest mask I have been sewing is the Àplat Mask https://aplat.com/blogs/shus-notebook/diy-cloth-face-mask
It’s shape fits many faces and with a simple adjustment it can fit children’s faces.
It’s a very simple sew, excellent coverage and you don’t need elastic. I am using “t-shirt yarn” with just enough stretch to allow for a comfortable fit.
With any sewn mask it’s recommended to have 2-3 layers. I use 2 layers of quilting cotton with a layer of interfacing between for a good quality filtration that is not too difficult to breath through.
Remember all cotton masks must be cleaned daily either in a washing machine or soaked in a bleach solution to kill any germs on the mask. Machine drying or if you can dry in the sun will help keep them sanitary.
Buying Face Masks Online
If you are considering buying masks online it can be a tricky process. Of all the masks I have tried I can recommend the following two masks.
Both mask options are safe, comfortable, easy to breath through and able to be reused up to ten times.
There are an excellent quality FDA approved surgical mask. They filter at a level that is equal, and in some tests higher, than N95 masks which means more than 95% of airborn particles are removed with the filter.
The mask is very comfortable. For a person with an asian background you could look at the Nano mask or the Air Queen. If you have a western face I recommend the Air Queen as it has a better fit with more space for the nose.
Most important to me is that the mask is able to be sanitised and reused up to ten times. This is a big saving as well as reduces the amount of medical waste being produced.
You can sanitise the Mask up to 10 times with no loss of it’s ability to filter the air. You just need some isopropyl alcohol diluted to 75%. You can get the isopropyl alcohol from your local hardware store. Be aware the brands like isocol are already diluted and not recommended.
Once you have the 75% alcohol solution ready you can either soak the mask for 5 minutes or spray the front and back surfaces and allow to air dry. Make sure the mask is completely dry before you use it again.
Masks are only one part of the solution.
Of course please remember that masks are only one part of our tools against the Coronavirus.
Hand washing is vital. Wash you hands before you eat, before you touch your face, before and after you put on your mask, and when you return to your home or workplace.
Remember you just need to use soap and water for 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to running water you can use alcohol based hand sanitiser as an alternative.
Physical distancing is also important. When in public spaces keep 1.5m or 6’ away from other people. It is recommended to wear a mask when outside your home.
Finally if you do feel unwell, get tested and isolate at home until you get your result.
The symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle aches and pains
If you get any symptoms, no matter how mild, please get tested urgently. Speak with your doctor who can guide you to get tested.
So team. Please stay safe. We are in this together. It’s been hard on many people. Please reach out to friends if you see they are struggling.
Dr George Forgan-Smith