While you may see people in line at the supermarket wearing a face mask – or going for a walk with their mouth and nose covered – at the time of writing masks aren’t mandatory for members of the general public.
In fact, whether non-key workers should wear face masks out and about is, according to government experts, difficult to ascertain, due to weak evidence.
Deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries says, while there is “probably a very, very small potential beneficial effect” in some enclosed environments, “the evidence is really very, very difficult to tease out”.
Key workers and healthcare professionals are dealing with dire PPE shortages, and a homemade mask is not a substitute, or recognised replacement for surgical grade PPE.
However, for non-key workers, if you’d feel happier or more comfortable donning a mask – no matter the potential protection one offers – there’s nothing to stop you, except of course, availability. Making one at home is likely the way forward.
Washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, abiding by social distancing rules and coughing/sneezing into tissues you then bin, continue to be the most effective measures to avoid and stop the spread of coronavirus, but if you’re keen to wear a mask as well, check out these tutorials for guidance and inspiration…
Skill level: No crafting ability
Indian actor Ronit Bose Roy has shared a video of himself turning a standard round-neck t-shirt into a mask, and it’s really effective.
No pins, needles, scissors or spare material required, it’s basically a case of fabric origami. Clearly it’s not medical grade quality, but does provide coverage for your nose and mouth, and keeps your head snug too.
Skill level: A little crafting ability
If you don’t mind getting the scissors out and have odd socks to spare (finally, they might actually come in handy), you can transform them into a face mask very simply.
Inserting a paper towel, tissue or sheet of kitchen roll as a makeshift filter won’t make them medical grade – just a little more robust.
Skill level: I can operate a sewing machine, no problem
Able to follow fabric patterns and make your own alterations? Pinterest and YouTube are awash with video tutorials and free downloadable patterns for those who are nifty with a sewing machine.
The Fu face mask design, courtesy of FreeSewing, has been hugely successful, while Thredhed has designed a pattern that meets the Centre for Disease Control and Provention (CDC) guidelines and is suitable for those with basic machine (or hand sewing) skills.
Now you just have to pick your tee, sock or fabric to repurpose.