In many parts of the world, wearing a face mask is now becoming compulsory for travel on public transport, work and shopping. Covering your face mask can protect you and others from contracting Covid-19, as it means you will have less chance of breathing in coronavirus particles in the air – or spreading the virus if you are infected.
When the coronavirus epidemic first broke out, many countries suffered a shortage of surgical masks making them either impossible to find in shops and chemists or very expensive. Now production has increased and with some countries, such as Spain, enforced a price limit on masks and PPE, surgical masks are more easily available.
However, if you cannot buy a commercial surgical mask, you can easily make your own basic mask at home and you don’t even need any sewing skills.
To start, you will need a bandana or square piece of cotton cloth measuring 20cm x 20cm, rubber bands (or hair ties) and a pair of scissors (if you need to cut fabric).
- Fold the bandana in half
- Then fold the top and bottom edges over to form a thick rectangular strip
- Place two rubber bands over the strip about six inches apart
- Fold the sides of the strip and tuck into the middle
- Put the mask on, with the folded side over your nose and mouth and fasten the rubber bands over your ears.
The tension will hold the mask in place.
While this homemade mask is useful as a last resort, it is no substitute for an authentic, medically-approved and tested surgical mask that will allow you to breathe while protecting you from inhaling harmful particles and microorganisms. A commercial mask is always safer for preventing transmission with most models up to three times more effective in stopping infection from spreading.