Masks Work & How To Make Your Own Face Masks

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  • Edit — It's important to state that healthcare professionals should be prioritised with access to masks. It is shameful that there are currently doctors and nurses working on the frontline of the NHS and around the world with poor, ill fitting and often incorrect personal protective equipment. It is a disgrace that governments in the U.K. and U.S have left health workers so underprepared for a pandemic.

    So don't buy N95 masks. But we can make our own!

    There is plenty of data out there that shows wearing masks is a useful method to reduce the spread of infectious disease.

    “When researchers conducted systematic review of a variety of interventions used during the SARS outbreak in 2003, they found that washing hands more than 10 times daily was 55 percent effective in stopping virus transmission, while wearing a mask was actually more effective — at about 68 percent.”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article­s/PMC2190272/

    The Lancet: “As evidence suggests COVID-19 could be transmitted before symptom onset, community transmission might be reduced if everyone, including people who have been infected but are asymptomatic and contagious, wear face masks."

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanre­s/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30134-X/fullt­ext

    George Gao, director-general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “The big mistake in the U.S. and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks. This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role—you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth. Many people have asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others.”

    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/­not-wearing-masks-protect-against-corona­virus-big-mistake-top-chinese-scientist-­says

    Of course face masks should not be used as an excuse to break social distancing rules or self isolation. They will not offer 100% immunity from coronavirus. But a mask is better than no mask, and seems to be a useful accompaniment to hand washing and distancing measures.

    I agree with the position that right now, it is socially responsible to wear masks whenever we go out. With more data proving asymptomatic cases are increasing the spread of coronavirus, I admire the western countries that have taken the step to encourage mask wearing and in some cases make this a mandatory requirement of going outside during lockdown.

    Czech Republic’s government made it mandatory to wear masks at all times when outside the home weeks ago:

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.thegu­ardian.com/world/2020/mar/30/czechs-get-­to-work-making-masks-after-government-de­cree-coronavirus

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhNo_IOP­OtU

    The city of Jena in Germany has followed suit and made masks a requirement. There are now calls for the rest of Germany to do the same:

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/mobile.re­uters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN21I10K

    The Washington Post and The New York Times initially repeated the line that masks were of no use to the public but now they too are changing their position on this:

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.nytim­es.com/2020/03/27/health/us-coronavirus-­face-masks.amp.html

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.washi­ngtonpost.com/outlook/2020/03/28/masks-a­ll-coronavirus/%3foutputType=amp

    More countries are revisiting their original guidelines on wearing masks, the United States now included:

    https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shot­s/2020/03/31/824560471/should-we-all-be-­wearing-masks-in-public-health-experts-r­evisit-the-question?t=1585747921595

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.nytim­es.com/2020/03/31/health/cdc-masks-coron­avirus.amp.html

    I thought it would be useful for us to have a thread to share articles on this issue and importantly, tutorials, templates and info on how to make our own face masks.

  • Here is a simple method to make a mask at home. There is even a ‘pro’ method if you are so inclined: https://ragmask.com/ragmask.pdf

    Another is the HK Mask Tutorial:
    https://diymask.site/

    Here’s one from The Atlantic Health System: https://bit.ly/2US2i6H


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  • And this study on the effectiveness of various materials:

    https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best­-materials-make-diy-face-mask-virus/


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  • The WHO seem to disagree with you about general wearing of masks. There is a shortage of available masks for people in high risk situations, eg healthcare workers.

    If you do wear a mask it's important to change it frequently and dispose of used masks so I'm not sure making your own is going to work. I suppose if you can put it through a hot wash?

  • You’re right but a lot of people disagree with the WHO on this issue and argue that any protection is better than no protection. It also seems possible that the early advice against mask use, from the US for example, was to stop people panic buying masks that health professionals need.

    Some of the above links go into the need to frequently change and sterilise/dispose of masks and you can still dispose of a mask if you’ve made it yourself.

    The WHO actually has tips on how to safely put on and remove masks here

    One of the above designs essentially creates a pocket for a filter to be held between two pieces of cotton cloth. The filter can be disposed of and the cotton pocket washed and sterilised.

    Also, if masks are being recommended to people who are currently in lockdown and sticking to social distancing measures, then their usage is likely to be for short periods of time when going on an essential trip to the supermarket or pharmacy etc.

  • I dunno, just saw one jogger and one cyclist cruise past my gaff with their masks on.

    These things are talismans unless done properly.

  • The very same masks that many US healthcare professionals will be wearing on the frontlines of this pandemic because of the woeful preparation of their government.

    https://www.joann.com/make-to-give-respo­nse/?utm_campaign=2116208&ranMID=43312&r­anEAID=TnL5HPStwNw&ranSiteID=TnL5HPStwNw­-ZfG2kEkkfXYQcRUr4zookQ

    So a talisman that may offer protection and reduce transmission to others is still worthwhile in my opinion.

    Plenty of good tutorials to show you how to do it properly too 😉

  • Wife and I masked up for going to the supermarket yesterday (I was shopping for us, she for her parents who are isolating).

    I've kept our used masks and left stored them out of the way in our spare room. I figure if it's a week till we have to go shopping again then anything that's on them will have died.

  • Opinions seem mixed on their effectiveness, but according to Dr Jean-Paul Hamon (president of the Fédération des Médecins de France, and a GP), "c’est mieux que rien", and Grenoble Public Hospital sent out a document a couple of weeks ago detailing how to make your own masks (instructions in French only, sorry):

    https://www.infirmiers.com/pdf/masque-ti­ssu.pdf


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  • If you have friends or family working in healthcare at the moment, then here’s a couple of tips from others working in masks.


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  • The WHO seem to disagree with you about general wearing of masks

    Not just the WHO, but also Public Health England, who have advised people against wearing face masks as there is “very little evidence” that they are effective “outside of clinical settings” such as hospitals.

    Wearing a face mask if you're a healthcare worker in a hospital makes absolute sense. If you're walking down the street and following current government guidance and aiming not to catch coronavirus, it doesn't.

  • Dr Shunmay Yeung from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine explains to the BBC why you don't need to wear a face mask
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-518­81555/coronavirus-do-face-masks-actually­-work

  • By the BBC's Health Editor, half an hour ago:
    Coronavirus: Who should be wearing masks?

    Why doesn't everyone wear one?
    Surgical masks are not recommended for the general public because:

    they can be contaminated by other people's coughs and sneezes or when putting them on or removing them
    frequent hand-washing and social distancing are more effective
    they might offer a false sense of security

  • Not just the WHO, but also Public Health England, who have advised people against wearing face masks

    Public Health England’s guidelines on PPE don’t even match up with the WHO guidelines on PPE. Which is why NHS staff are wearing flimsy bin bag like aprons instead of gowns on the frontline.

    It’s convenient that Public Health England recommend the poor PPE they just about have and not the equipment they don’t.

    And considering there are NHS staff currently asking for donations of goggles from schools, visiting hardware stores to buy their own masks, nurses and doctors re-using masks multiple times on consecutive days and paramedics arriving to patients without masks at all, I really don’t think the U.K. situation is one to hold up as an example of how to do things correctly.

    I’d sooner follow the advice of literally any other country. (except Brazil)


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  • they can be contaminated by other people's coughs and sneezes

    If someone else is coughing and sneezing in a persons face, I think contamination of the mask is the least of their worries! Would you prefer to have no mask on so they can just cough straight into your nose and mouth?

    With that logic health professionals should be mask-less then.

  • The WHO and WIRED links you provided both suggested that healthy people do not need to wear masks unless caring for someone with Covid-19.

  • The Wired article also uses the phrase ‘common sense’ which filled me with all kinds of anguish.

  • i bet

  • Is that meant to be some kind of gotcha? I know what the WHO says on the issue, I literally commented on it in the same post. That doesn’t need to stop me posting the link to their videos on how to safely put on and dispose of a mask - which was what the comment I was replying to mentioned.

    Looks like you didn’t read the entirety of the Wired article either.

    The opinions on mask wearing advice is mixed, I’m fully aware of that, the mixed advice is commented on in every single article and link I’ve posted in this thread.

    I think it’s worth remembering that the pro mask opinions are mostly centred around the fact that we don’t know if we are healthy, any of us could be asymptomatic and a mask is a way to reduce the risk we may pose to others.

  • alright calm down jason vorhees

  • jason vorhees

    Haha, had to google, did lol.

  • that was the gotcha.

    i have no strong opinions on masks. i won't wear one because i just really like to smell my surroundings properly - at point-blank range if necessary.

  • Same here. If I can’t taste my air, how can I be sure I’m breathing?

    The disease is easily spread by people who might even be completely asymptomatic, onto surfaces and other people in their immediate vicinity, mainly by droplets from their nose and mouth. The widespread use of masks just makes sense to me: they’re very much proven to reduce the spread of an infected person’s droplets, which means less of the virus is spread to others. The reality is that the West as a whole didn’t take on board the lessons from e.g., SARS and MERS, so we were caught out and don’t have the infrastructure, culture or supplies to address our domestic outbreaks in the optimal way. Having only enough masks for our medical personnel means more people will be exposed and get sick; but it’s the lesser of two evils, the alternative being that medical staff are even worse off and get sick and can’t function, and then everyone else gets sick anyway.

    From The Lancet article cited above (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanre­s/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30134-X/fullt­ext):

    “WHO currently recommends that people should wear face masks if they have respiratory symptoms or if they are caring for somebody with symptoms. Perhaps it would also be rational to recommend that people in quarantine wear face masks if they need to leave home for any reason, to prevent potential asymptomatic or presymptomatic transmission. In addition, vulnerable populations, such as older adults and those with underlying medical conditions, should wear face masks if available. Universal use of face masks could be considered if supplies permit. “

    They also acknowledge/suppose early in the article that governments might be advising against the general use of masks because of the potential for Joe Public to panic buy them into shortages for critical workers. Since there are massive shortages anyway in Europe and the Americas, it’s a pretty reasonable supposition.

    S. Korea’s top epidemiologist is very strongly in favour of the general population using masks. He also attributes S. Korea’s exemplary handling of the pandemic, in part, to the generalised use of masks. It’s an interesting watch in any case.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gAk7aX5hks­U

    My money’s on the WHO advisory changing to ‘everyone wear masks it’s now proven to help’ once most of Europe and the US have managed to stockpile enough for their employees, and when Trump’s buddies have managed to get their $ into the production line.

  • Dr Shunmay Yeung from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine explains

    ... that masks won’t help because transmission can happen by touch. Then goes on to explain that touch and droplets/sneezing are the main forms of transmission.

    I understand there are good reasons (around stocks of masks) for the spin. But it is spin. Transparency would be better at this point.

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Masks Work & How To Make Your Own Face Masks

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