According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one way to avoid the coronavirus is to regularly wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. But don’t stop there.
You should also take precautions by sanitizing Amazon packages and other deliveries sent to your home. Tap or click here to find out how.
Now, the CDC is adjusting its guidelines and is asking everyone to wear face masks when they go outside. The problem is face masks are difficult to find these days. That’s why we’re going to give you instructions to make your own.
How to safely handle and wear face masks
One reason it took the CDC so long to recommend wearing face masks is not everyone in the U.S. knows the proper etiquette to wear one. Here’s how:
Whether it’s a mask, scarf or bandana, BEFORE you put it on, wash your hands for AT LEAST 20 seconds in hot soapy water, then dry your hands with a clean paper towel and throw the paper towel away.
If you’re using a mask, it has two strings that loop behind your ears. Put the mask on and open it up to cover above your nose and below your chin. It’s folded in two places like an accordion. While wearing it, do not touch the mask. Promptly take it off and throw it away before walking into your home. Then, wash your hands again.
For scarves and bandanas, make sure they are freshly cleaned. Tie one around your face, covering your nose and mouth. Again, while wearing, do not touch it.
Promptly take it off before walking into your home and put it right in the wash. Set your washer and dryer to sterilize if you have that setting, or use the hottest water setting you can. Then wash your hands again.
One thing to remember is that face masks are not meant to replace social distancing. The CDC still wants everyone to follow social distancing guidelines of 20 feet.
Simple ways to make different types of face masks
In its new recommendation, the CDC said, “CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”
You may also like: Ways to track coronavirus testing data to better understand the disease
One city in the U.S. is already mandating face masks when people leave their homes. The Laredo, Texas city council mandated anyone who enters a building not their own must have their noses and mouths covered with masks, bandanas, scarves or another fabric, or face a fine of up to $1,000.
Other places like New York and Los Angeles are advising residents to wear masks in public from now on.
Early data suggests many who are infected are not symptomatic, which is why we are recommending you use cloth face coverings plus physical distancing for essential activities.— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) April 2, 2020
Do not use surgical and N95 masks, which are reserved for first responders and medical workers.
With hospitals across the U.S. expected to see the number of patients increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding medical-grade face masks is nearly impossible. In fact, Amazon recently stopped selling N95 masks to the public and will only allow hospitals and government agencies to purchase them.
That puts the rest of us in the unfortunate position of not having these essential items. The good news is you can make your own with items you already have around the house. Here are a couple of ways:
If you know how to sew
For those of you who want to create a face mask and know how to sew, here’s a YouTube video with step-by-step instructions. You’ll need an old t-shirt, or a different piece of material, needle and thread, a sheet of paper, scissors, a ruler, an elastic band, a marker, a hair clip and some pins.
You may also like: How to protect yourself from the surge of coronavirus scams
Use a vacuum cleaner bag
If you have vacuum cleaner bags, you can turn them into face masks. Here’s how:
- Cut the bag into a rectangle and make sure to keep all the layers together.
- With the inside of the bag facing upwards, fold twice along the bottom and top.
- Fold both bottom corners of the bag.
- Get a paperclip or other thin wire and straighten it out.
- Take two rubber bands and fold the edges of the bag around them. Staple the folds to secure them.
- Push the straightened wire through the center of the top, give it about an inch, then push the end back through.
- Stretch the rubber bands around your ears to hold the mask against your face. Pinch the wire to secure around your nose.
Here is a graphic demonstrating the vacuum cleaner bag method to help walk you through the steps.
The simplest way to make a face mask
OK, if you don’t have sewing materials and want to know the easiest way to make a face mask, this is it. All you need is a bandana and two rubber bands. This easy-to-follow YouTube tutorial is easy to follow with step-by-step instructions.
Obviously, homemade face masks like these are not going to provide the level of protection you would get from medical-grade masks like the N95 ones. But the general consensus is it’s better to wear a homemade cloth mask than nothing at all.
For more helpful DIY projects like this, sign up for Kim’s free Tech Tips & How-Tos newsletter.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.