Are you confused about whether or not you need to wear a mask when you leave your house? We hear you! Keep reading for current recommendations regarding homemade masks, plus simple step-by-step instructions for making them.
What are the current guidelines?
Federal and provincial health authorities now recommend that even people who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19 wear non-medical, homemade face masks as an additional measure to protect others against the spread of coronavirus.
Doesn't my mask protect me?
There is no evidence that homemade masks protect the wearer from incoming viruses including COVID-19. Wearing a homemade mask in public can, however, help prevent asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 from unknowingly spreading the virus to others.
Masks can provide a false sense of security to wearers, as well as lead to increased touching of the face to adjust the mask. When you wear homemade mask, continue to practice the three most effect methods for preventing COVID-19 transmission: avoid touching your face, wash your hands regularly and effectively, and practice physical distancing.
When should I wear a mask?
Homemade masks are best used when travelling to public places such as the grocery store or pharmacy, or when using public transit.
Help flatten the curve. Use your virtual care platform when you need medical support.
What are the best practices for using homemade masks?
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after putting on or taking off your mask
- Always handle the mask by its straps, not the face shield
- Put on your mask before leaving your house; putting it on right before entering a public place increases the risk of contamination
- Wash your homemade mask after each use either in the washing machine or by hand, using detergent and water that is at least 30 degrees celsius; do not use bleach
- Masks should be made using dense fabric that passes the light test: hold your fabric up to a light — if light passes through easily and you can see the fibres of the fabric, it is not dense enough
- Masks should be made of cotton; ideal fabrics include high thread count bed sheets (600+), flannel, t-shirts and bandanas
- The more layers your mask has, the better it will filter out particles; we suggest using 2-4 layers of fabric
- It is vital that your mask fit comfortably so that you do not need to adjust it — and touch your face as a result — once you put it on
Here's an easy way to remember how homemade masks work:
My mask protects you.
Your mask protects me.
While we must save the supply of medical grade masks, such as surgical masks and n-95 respirators, for healthcare workers, we can craft our own DIY masks at home. See our tutorial below for three different types of masks you can make at home. Click here to download the instructions in PDF format.
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- This article was contributed to by Dr. Rhonda Low, Dr. Catherine Harvey and Lorie Johnson, Medisys Health Group