On Friday, April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added the use of cloth face coverings to its official recommendations for individuals during the novel coronavirus outbreak. This new recommendation isn't a mandate, but if you choose to follow this voluntary measure, you should stay away from buying surgical or N-95 masks, which are meant for health care workers. There are plenty of face mask sewing patterns to make a ask at home, but if you're not that handy, here's how to make a face mask without sewing.
In new guidelines, the CDC recommends people wear "simple cloth face coverings" — even if you aren't exhibiting symptoms — when in situations where social distancing directives to stay at least six feet away from other people are hard to follow, like trips to the grocery store or pharmacy. The novel coronavirus can be spread through respiratory droplets expelled while coughing, talking, or sneezing, so a cloth mask helps provide some sort of barrier. Wearing a face mask is not a replacement for social distancing, so you should keep your distance even when wearing a face covering.
When making a mask at home, you should be looking for good coverage. Make sure your mask covers the top of your nose, fastens below the chin, and has a snug fit (you might want to consider tying the fabric instead of an elastic band or other material to fasten it). In a YouTube video shared by the CDC on April 3, Dr. Jerome Adam, the U.S. Surgeon General, shared a simple no-sew mask.
A good choice is using T-shirt fabric or a thicker three-ply material to construct your mask. In a video shared by the CDC, the organization recommends cutting the sleeves off a T-shirt and then folding it down from the top and up from the bottom to meet in the middle, and then doing the process again. After, you can then slide rubber bands on both sides of it, tuck the edges of the fabric inwards to add another layer of protection, and then fit it to your face with the bands behind your ears.
For a fabric material that's not as dense, such as that found in a bandana, you can add an additional layer of protection inside with a coffee filter. Once you fold the bandana in half, cut the top half of a coffee filter to put inside, fold the bandana up from the bottom and down from the top to meet in the middle and cover the coffee filter. Then slide two elastics on each end, fold the sides into the middle, and put the elastics behind either ear, with the smooth part of the bandana facing outward.
You can also use a clean scarf to tie around your face, but it's important to make sure your face covering doesn't interfere with your breathing. Whichever material you decide to use, it's important to make sure you keep your mask as clean as possible to avoid bacterial growth or the risk of contamination. For fabrics, putting your mask in the washing machine with hot water will clean it. Single-use masks should be thrown away after they've been worn once. Make sure to wash your hands before putting on your mask, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth while wearing it and when taking it off. Finally, wash your hands before and after taking off your mask as well.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Elite Daily's coverage of coronavirus here.