The Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) recommends that everyone – sick or healthy, should wear a face mask- homemade or not before leaving their home. This will help slow the spread of the virus. Studies have shown that people can spread the virus even if they don’t show symptoms or before they have symptoms.
Before you buy a mask or make one, find out which type is best and how to maintain your facemask
Why You Should wear a facemask
When someone who has Covid-19 coughs, sneezes, or talks, they send tiny droplets with the coronavirus into the air. The mask will help protect you from inhaling those tiny droplets that have been let into the air. Face masks help to slow the spread of coronavirus. If you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, or have been diagnosed, wearing a mask can also protect others. This is why the government has emphasized that anyone leaving their house must wear a face mask.
Types Of Face Mask For Coronavirus
There are generally 3 basic types of face mask for coronavirus:
- N95 Respirator
- Surgical Mask
- Homemade cloth mask
The N95 mask is a tight-fitting face mask that filters 95% (or more) of the smallest particles in the air. But they have to fit just right in order to work. It is generally in a circular or oval shape and is designed to form a tight seal to your face. Some types of this mask can have an attachment called exhalation valve, which can help with breathing and build-up of heat and humidity.
These masks are usually blue with white borders. They protect you from large droplets that come from a sick person’s cough or sneeze. Because they fit loosely and are not so tight, they don’t protect you against all germs. In other words, they can’t block the tiniest particles that may carry coronavirus.
Homemade Cloth Mask or Ankara Face mask
If you don’t have coronavirus, and you can’t get your hands on any of the masks listed above, it is advisable for you to wear a homemade face mask to avoid getting it from people who have it. Especially when you’re in places where it is difficult to maintain 6-foot distance (about 2 arms’ length) from others. This is in addition to your social distancing and practicing proper hygiene.
When using the homemade face mask, it is important to take certain preventive measures:
- Avoid putting cloth face masks on children under the age of 2, those who have trouble breathing and people who can’t remove the masks on their own
- After every use, wash and iron the homemade cloth face masks. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash your hands after removing them.
Easiest Way To Make A Homemade Face mask
- Use a bandanna or a handkerchief
- Fold it in half.
- Fold it into a triangle
- Slide the rectangle through two rubber bands or elastic hair ties until they’re about 6 inches apart.
- Fold the sides of the fabric in towards the middle, and tuck the ends together.
- Hook the elastics over your ears and adjust the fabric so it’s snug against your face but not too tight.
What are the best fabrics for making masks?
This is listed in the order of how these fabrics filter germs:
- Kitchen Napkins (two layers)
- Cotton mix fabric
- 100% cotton T-shirt (two layers)
- Standard pillowcase
As much as we want to prevent this virus, we have to be careful not to suffocate ourselves. If it’s too hard to breathe through any of these materials, it can cause issues for people who have respiratory problems. Heavy breathing might also affect how well the mask works. Researchers said a kitchen Napkin was too hard to breathe in so they recommended a pillowcase or cotton T-shirt because of how it stretches.
How to Wear a Face Mask
Before you wear a face mask, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Hold the mask with the elastic band and pull them behind your ears. Make sure the mask fits around your nose and mouth and under your chin. There should be no space between your face and the mask. Pinch the top edge of the mask around the bridge of your nose.
Make sure the mask fits tightly around your face but you still feel comfortable. You should be able to breathe freely through it. Don’t wear a mask if it’s hard for you to breathe. Don’t touch the mask while you’re wearing it.
How to Remove and Clean Your Mask
Once you’re done wearing your mask or if it feels damp, take it off. Try not to touch the front of the mask when you are taking it off, that is where the germs are. Instead, pull it off by the ear loops or elastic band.
If you are using the surgical mask, wear it once, and throw it away. Put it in a plastic bag and then trash it. Wash your hands with soap and water afterward.
Wash homemade cloth masks with hot water and detergent or soap after each wear. If you have a washing machine, you can use it to wash the mask and hang it to dry when it’s done. Wash your hands when you’re done.
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