COVID-19 virus spreads easily from person to person contact. Virus carrying droplets dry fast enough to form droplet nuclei and remain airborne eventually landing on different surfaces.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been detected in aerosols for up to three hours and on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to three days. (N.Engl J.Med. 2020).
Why Wear a Mask?
Masks lower the chances of coronavirus entering the respiratory system through droplets still in the air from an infected person. Reducing the chances of inhaling the virus by wearing a protective mask that is cleaned thoroughly using a combination of approaches that use Heat, UV light, water, soap and alcohol, will be vital to stopping its spread.
World Health Oragnization (WHO) – Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
Types of Masks
- Surgical Masks: These are the ones which are slightly loose-fitted around the mouth and protect a person against large splashes of droplets, water, sprays and are used at medical facilities.
- N95 Masks: These respiratory masks are widely being used right now to lessen the spread of coronavirus. These are slightly more tight-fitted.
- Activated Carbon Masks: These contain an activated carbon filter, which helps collect and filter out pollutants and germs and breathe in purer air.
- Cloth and Sponge Masks: Faced with mask shortage, many are turning to homemade masks made of different fabrics.
- DISPOSABLE MASK – Bought from store – can be used only once.
- HOME MADE – make at Home re-usable mask.
Key Differences between Disposable and Homemade Cotton Masks
|Disposable (Surgical Mask)
|Homemade (Cotton) Mask
|Effectiveness against virus Particles
|Washing and Cleaning
|Should NEVER be washed as it damages filtration and protection ability
|Can be reused easily after washing
|Medical store stocks of such masks are likely to be depleted
|Can be easily made at home with available cotton materials.
|Must be disposed after one use in a closed bag with household waste to prevent virus from travel
|Can be easily cleaned after use with ingredients available at home.
Before using the handmade mask remember:
- Thoroughly was and clean the mask before wearing it.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before wearing the mask.
- As soon as the mask becomes damp or humid, switch to another mask and clean the used mask.
- Never reuse a mask after single use without cleaning it.
- Do not touch the front or any other surface of the mask, remove it only with strings behind.
- For string mask, always untie the string below and then the string above.
- After removal, immediately clean your hands with 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizer or with soap and water for 40 seconds.
- Drop it directly into a soap solution or boiling water to which salt has been added.
- Homemade reusable mask only reduce the chances of inhaling droplets still in the air from in infected person. They do not give full protection.
- Homemade reusable masks must be washed and heated each day. Reuse without washing should NOT be done.
- Disposable masks should not be washed and re-used. They must be disposed according to instructions.
- Remember to wash your hands frequently with soap for 20 seconds.