The COVID-19 disease has been declared as a pandemic. It has affected the lives of thousands of people around the world and this number is increasing day by day. This is not the first pandemic experienced by mankind. Humans have a history of pandemics to refer to amidst the looming effects of coronavirus. Containing the spread with the help of necessary measures has always proved to be helpful. In the case of coronavirus, nose, mouth, and eyes act as entry points for the virus. Thus, it is important to cover them with face covers for preventing COVID-19. These face masks need not be medical-grade or expensive respirators. Multiple layers of simple cotton cloth can also be helpful. Read on to know more about how to create homemade face covers for preventing COVID-19 and other important practices:

How to Create Homemade Face Covers (Masks) for Preventing Covid-19 - Acko

How to Create Homemade Face Covers:

Contrary to popular belief, one can cover their face properly using a cotton cloth. You need not buy the N95 respirator or a surgical mask in order to protect yourself from getting infected by a coronavirus. It is advised that one should avoid using a surgical mask if they wish to help fight the scarcity faced by medical professionals.

It is important to note that you should use a homemade face cover only if you are not suffering from a medical condition or a breathing difficulty.

Selecting the Right Cloth for Making a Face Cover or Mask:

You can perform a simple check if you are unsure about the quality of fabric for making a homemade face cover. Hold the selected fabric against bright light. If it is completely transparent, this fabric may not be your best choice. Consider replacing it with a denser cloth. Select a fabric that is not completely see-through. It should partially block the light.

Here are two methods in which you can create a face cover at home:

Method 1: Using a Sewing Machine:

Items you will require

  • 1 Piece of cloth: 9×7 inch piece for an adult and 7×5 inch for a child
    • Use a clean cotton cloth for making a face cover. It is recommended that you boil this cloth in water for at least 5 minutes. Add salt to the boiling water. 
  • 4 strips of cloth: These are required for tying and piping the main fabric. You will need 2 pieces of 1.5×5 inch and 2 pieces of 1.5×40 inch. Treat these strips in boiling water just like the fabric for making a face cover.
  • A pair of scissors
  • Sewing machine

Process:

  • Begin by creating 3 pleats, each pleat should approximately be 1.5 inches, on the main cloth (9×7 inch for adults and 7×5 inch for children). Sew them together, this will reduce its size to approximately 5 inches. 
  • Next secure the sewed ends with 1.5×5 inch cloth on both sides. Sew these by keeping the pleats facing down.
  • Proceed to sew the 40-inch strip by creating piping at the top and bottom of the main cloth. Fold the strips at least 3 times and sew.

Method 2: Instant Face Cover. No Sewing Machine Required:

Items you will need

  • 1 Large handkerchief
  • 2 rubber bands

Process:

  1. Fold a large handkerchief into three parts.
  2. Draw 2 imaginary lines to divide it into 3 equal parts. 
  3. Attach rubber bands on both these lines
  4. Fold both ends on top of one another by slipping one end in the folds of the other.
  5. Tie this face cover to your ears and check for size. It should cover the entire nose, mouth, and chin.

Also, read: Coronavirus Helpline India

How to Sanitize a Face Cover for Regular Use:

If you intend to use a face cover multiple times, you need to keep it clean and sanitized at all times. Take a look at the following methods that you can use for cleaning and sanitizing a face cover.

Method 1:

Use regular soap and warm water to wash the face cover and allow it to cure in the hot sun for at least 5 hours. Avoid drying on a flat surface or the ground. Consider changing the face cover by securing it to a line using a small pin.

Method 2:

Let the face cover boil in hot water by adding salt and leave boiling for at least 15 minutes. Another method is to use a pressure cooker for this purpose. Pressure cook the face cover by adding salt and water for at least 10 minutes.

Method 3:

Apply heat after washing the face cover in soapy water. To apply heat, simply lay the face cover on a flat surface and iron it on high settings.

Face Cover Best Practices:

Follow these best practices to reduce the chances of getting infected by COVID-19.

  • Once you create your face cover, you need to thoroughly sanitize it with the help of the methods given above. 
  • Sanitize your hands before handling a clean face cover.
  • One face cover cannot be used by multiple people. Thus, create a separate one for each member of the family.
  • Always wear a fresh face cover. They need to be sanitized after each use.
  • Remember to change the face cover when it becomes humid or damp. Use a fresh one in this case.
  • If you are using a face cover with strings, you should always untie the bottom string first and proceed to untie the top one. Strings tied in a cross fashion will help the face cover fit better allowing better protection against COVID-19 and other infections.
  • Avoid touching the part of your face cover that covers the face. Handle it with the help of strings only. This will help avoid any unwanted contamination.
  • After you are done using a face cover, clean your hands with either 65% alcohol-based hand sanitizer or warm soapy water for at least 40 seconds.
  • Try to sanitize the face cover (using sanitization methods given above) as soon as possible to avoid transmission.

Also, read: Ways To Remain Healthy During Social Distancing

How to Store a Sanitized Face Cover:

Since it is recommended that you make multiple face covers so that you can frequently switch between them, it is essential that you store a sanitized face cover properly. Take a look at the following steps that will help you keep your additional face cover safe for immediate use:

  • Step 1: Take a plastic bag that is a bit bigger than the size of your face cover. Preferably a ziplock bag.
  • Step 2: Thoroughly wash the plastic bag with soap and water from all sides. 
  • Step 3: Let it completely dry.
  • Step 4: Store a clean face cover and seal the plastic bag. 

Note that your hands should be sanitized every time before you handle the storage bag.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here are the answers to a few questions that you may have in mind.

Is it mandatory to wear a face cover in India?

Yes, it is mandatory in some Indian states to wear a face cover. This move was made by the state government to reduce the chances of people getting infected by COVID-19. Wearing a face cover is advised irrespective of whether it is compulsory in your state or not.

Am I fully protected against coronavirus if I wear a face cover?

No, wearing a face cover is an additional measure that you should take to reduce the chances of infection. You still need to remain indoors or maintain a distance of 3-6 feet when you need to go out for buying essential items, emergencies, etc. Maintaining hygiene is the primary measure that you should take for avoiding the chances of getting COVID-19.

Why are homemade face covers being advised instead of medical-grade masks or N95 respirators?

There is a shortage of medical-grade masks and N95 respirators. People who are tending to those who are suffering from COVID-19 are in need of these masks. The general public can use a cloth face cover and reduce the chance of getting infected by a coronavirus.

How can I ensure that I am wearing a face cover properly for maximum protection?

Your face cover should fit snugly on the face. There should be no gaps from where the virus can make its way into your body. Ensure that your face cover is made of multiple layers while you can comfortably breathe.

Can people without any symptoms of coronavirus still spread it to others?

Yes, it is possible that a person infected with coronavirus may not show any symptoms of the disease. They may still unknowingly spread the infection to other people. Thus, social distancing and maintaining hygiene is of utmost importance.

References:

  • Website: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare – Department of Health & Family Welfare, https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/advisoryMORD.pdf

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