Need for masks being re-examined by health officials; instructions on DIY mask-making

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Do-it-yourself masks are being reexamined as useful by health officials.

"We’ve asked the CDC to take another look at whether or not having more people wear masks will prevent transmission of the disease," said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.

However, with a serious shortage of N95 masks needed by medical professionals, having the general public use them is not recommended. DIY masks are seen by many as the next best thing.

A Cambridge University study from 2009 tested the efficacy of homemade masks of different materials. Household products such as dishtowels and vacuum bags are usable, according to the study, as are many types of fabric.

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To make your own mask at home, follow these instructions:

  1. Build a mask that tightly encloses the area around the nose and mouth, from the bridge of the nose down to the chin, and extending onto the cheek beyond the corners of the mouth, so no gaps occur when talking or moving.
  2. Use mask material that is tightly woven but breathable. Possibly double-layer the fabric.
  3. Masks must be made from washable material, such as fabric. Choose a fabric that can handle high temperatures and bleach without shrinking or otherwise deforming. The mask should be tolerant of expected amounts of moisture from breathing.
  4. Other Considerations – Suggested materials: outer layer tea cloth, inner layer of a microfleece to wick away moisture, and an inner tea cloth layer. Use an accordion fold to mimic a hospital mask as much as possible and use a fat woven shoelace type material to bind the sides (such as quilt binding). For straps, use elastic straps that loop behind the ears.

For more information on mask-making from the Minnesota Department of Health, follow the link here.