By Nel Margerison
For the last two weeks I have been at home sewing masks for personal use. As we see this global disaster impact our everyday lives we are looking for ways to protect our frontline staff. Please please leave N95 respirators for those who need them urgently.
These masks are not surgical and will not protect from fine aerosolised virus. There are no guarantees that wearing a mask will offer protection to yourself, or others, but any barrier is better than none and this is re-iterated by every source we have researched.
"The current scientific consensus is that most transmission via respiratory secretions happens in the form of large respiratory droplets ... rather than small aerosols," "Droplets, fortunately, are heavy enough that they don't travel very far" and instead fall from the air after traveling only a few feet. (www.livescience.com)
A mask can be useful when we when caring for someone at home or to protect yourself and others when you ‘absolutely have to’ leave the house. In this instance please consider other barriers such as glasses and gloves which should also be removed as soon as possible and cleaned.
Please protect our frontline workers by not using surgical grade or N95 respirators if you do not need to: This is important people, we are rapidly running out of masks suitable for use in primary health care settings.
These masks are made from tightly woven cotton which can act as a barrier from large respiratory droplets and any covering of your face whilst in the vicinity of others can help reduce the spread of Covid 19 as well as regular washing of hands and surfaces.
Re-useable masks can be removed as soon as possible and washed in order to wear again, once removed please remember to also wash your hands.
Our suggestion is to have a receptacle near your door to remove your outer wear and any any chosen personal protection. Once you have washed your hands you can pour a kettle over your mask and leave to cool, then wash and hang for re-use.
These masks are made in a domestic environment on a domestic machine (which cannot be serviced at this time!) using what is available to us and therefore are not always perfect. We have used garden wire and bag ties and whatever thread we have to hand, as well as rationing the elastic by providing ear loops rather than full head bands. Please be prepared to modify to suit your specific need, these are medium sized and should be suitable for most people but you may need to cut and extend the elastic or reduce by adding a knot to provide a good fit. If you would like instructions on how to make your own cotton mask, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. To purchase please click Face Masks
Stay safe and remember; together we will find our way.
2nd April update likely about effectiveness of wearing a mask.