COVID-19 Mask Tips, Mask-making & Mask Donations
Published: April 8, 2020
Hello MAO friends, clients, and supporters!
We hope everyone is staying safe and well. As you know, the CDC has now recommended everyone wear non-medical face masks in public. As you can surmise, N95 masks and surgical masks need to be saved for our front line medical and care providers and they continue to be challenging to come by; however, with your support we can help them and those we care for.
There is a lot of information being shared about home-made, non-medical masks. This provides a great opportunity to help us help our clients. In addition to crafty covers for our limited official PPE (personal protective equipment) for providers, we need help finding homemade masks for our clients and patients to use in public as well. If you sew, or if you know of groups who are donating homemade masks, please keep MAO and our patients in mind.
If you are in a position to donate, please call (800) 510-4704 before visiting so we can help you safely navigate.
Continue Practicing Social Distancing
Face masks DO NOT make up for other COVID-19 health precautions. Practicing social distancing (staying 6 feet away from each other), not touching our/your faces, and washing hands frequently are still our best forms of defense. Keep in mind, people infected with COVID-19 can transmit the virus before they show any symptoms. So, it is time for “universal” precautions! You are encouraged to assume anyone could have the virus whether they feel sick or not.
Tips for wearing masks:
- Wash your hands before putting on and taking off masks.
- Put masks on and off using the straps; try not to touch the front or back of the mask to prevent contaminating the breathing area.
- Use only your own mask; DO NOT SHARE MASKS!
- After wearing a cloth mask, wash it with soap and water, or launder it before reusing.
- Don’t fidget with the mask while wearing it.
Tips on materials to make masks:
- One of the best fabrics to use is that from reusable grocery store bags (the cloth ones, not plastic bags). They are made of non-woven polypropylene, which blocks particles well. They cannot be bleached; however, they can be washed with detergent.
- The next best options are tightly woven fabrics like denim or twill. Loosely woven fabrics like t-shirts are not as protective, but, again, anything is better than nothing.
- Some people sew in a metal piece to help close over the nose, like surgical masks have. Pipe cleaners, bread bag twists, and paper clips can be used. Just make sure these items are clean to start with.
- Face masks can be made with ties, which can be made of fabric or flat shoe laces, or elastic – if you can’t find elastic, hair bands work.
- Some more complicated masks have pouches for respirator filters that hospitals have, or use a piece of vacuum cleaner bag filters which are very protective (but harder to breathe through).
- There are also no-sew mask instructions made from bandannas as demonstrated by the U.S. Surgeon General online. These are best for home, personal use.
Instructions our teams have found for making masks:
There are many, many, many instructions currently on the Internet. Links have been embedded on this page for examples we have found thus far, from the simplest to the more complex. Please feel free to share other resources you find.
While you cover your face, you can also make a fashion statement!
Thank you to the generous community members who have responded thus far to MAO’s request for donations of non-medical masks for the people in our care!
(List may not be inclusive. Alphabetically as of April 29, 2020)
Bethel Baptist Church, Kelly McCart
Lucie Lee Lanoux
Pure Artistry Café
River Region Mask Makers
Mary Therese Sweeney
Trinity Presbyterian Church
And two anonymous donors.
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Easy No Sew mask from a bandanna
Sewing pattern for mask with pleats and elastic (USA Today)
Masks from reuseable grocery bags (can be sewn by hand) (Popular Science)
Olsen style masks with filter pocket
Masks using vacuum cleaner filter bags