Wondering how to help? Sew face masks! Design 1

| March 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

Many medical centers across the USA (as well as other countries) have few facemasks in stock.  They are calling on construction companies, welders, etc. to donate dust masks. They are also asking people with sewing skills to make facemasks.  In New York city, some doctors are reusing the same masks all week and lathering them with sanitizer in between shifts.

One researcher writes:
"With highly contagious coronavirus (COVID19) rapidly spreading throughout the world, many people are shopping for surgical masks to protect against this dangerous disease. The sudden increase in demand for “Personal Protective Equipment” (PPE) and the interrupted supply lines in China have led to a critical shortage of small particle filtering face masks (N-95s) and fitted rectangular sneeze guards (“surgical masks”).

News reports, appropriately seeking to reserve limited supplies of these disposable items for medical institutions, have been asking people not to purchase these items. Public officials have been quoted suggesting – inaccurately – that face coverings can’t help prevent the spread of this new virus.

The truth is more complicated: COVID19 is spread from person-to-person in droplets of moisture, mucus and saliva from people with infections. Coughing, sneezing, and even normal breathing put these virus particles into the air. One sneeze can put out thousands of droplets. People standing less than 6 feet away may become covered with these virus particles while they are still in the air. After the droplets fall, the virus particles can remain active for up to nine days. Infection occurs when someone breathes in airborne droplets, or when they touch their mouth, nose or eyes with hands covered in virus particles that have fallen out of the air onto counters, hand rails, floors or other surfaces. Wearing a face mask stops people from becoming infected in two ways:

1) By blocking most airborne droplets filled with virus from being inhaled
2) By stopping the wearer from touching their own mouths and noses.

Studies have shown that medical professional using surgical face masks correctly get 80% fewer infections than those who don’t.

So why the mixed messages?

First, because the protection only comes when the masks are used properly. They must be put on clean, taken off carefully, and paired with rigorous hand washing, and the discipline not to touch the face.

Second, because gaps around the masks and between fibers, even in commercial surgical masks, are too large to block all viruses. Sneeze and cough droplets are usually between 7 and 100 microns. Surgical masks and some cloth masks will block 7 micron particles. The COVID19 virus particles are 0.06 to 0.14 microns."

Masks are helpful because they block the sneeze and cough droplets that contain the viruses. The virus particles themselves can easily fit between the mask fibers, but virus particles do not normally hang out in the air by themselves, they are typically in a larger particle that hangs in the air (after being coughed or sneezed out) for a while before falling to the ground.

This week, the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC)  included the following as a last resort in their list of recommendations for use of facemasks by Healthcare Personnel (HCP):
"In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face."

Obviously the CDC believes that something is better than nothing for those who are in close proximity to infected people.  The Federal government is now expecting "waves" of illnesses over the next 18 months with a peak number of infections happening about 40 days from now.

It is important to note that the eyes are also a medium for getting the virus, so people should not think that wearing a mask will bullet-proof them.

Some medical facilities are using up their three-month supply in just a week or two.  There is a real need.  Homemade masks may end up being used in waiting rooms by people who are sneezing and coughing and waiting to be evaluated.  In places where there is an extreme shortage, healthcare personnel may end up using these for their own use, washing them, and reusing them.  Some healthcare facilities are requesting "4 ply" facemasks.

So... those of you who sew can get started right away.

Linked below (or attached) are instructions for making home-sewn masks.

Ernest Eby
Managing Editor

Instructions for making Facemasks - Revised

Additional recommendations for facemasks:

-Use tightly woven cotton fabric
-Use cotton flannel for the backing; helps to catch particles
-Use HEPA vacuum bags for filters - the filters can trap 99.97% of airborne particles. You will need to make sure they are the washable kind.

Click here to learn about sewing and donating facemasks.
Cloth strips:
---cut 4 cloth strips 1.25 in x 20 in.
---Iron narrow hem on each side of strip
---fold strip in half
---sew with zigzag stitch
---place in corner (when get to step for loops) & follow instructions from there
---cut 20 in long, place in corner & follow instructions from there for finishing product.

Many healthcare providers are asking for homemade face masks, masks used in woodworking/construction, alternative respirators, etc.
Items should be in new condition.
In addition to needs in your own community, here are some places to donate to:

1. Anthony and Christine Kreider
927 Harding Park
Bronx, NY 10473
Phone/Text: 717-222-9986
Email: anthony@arkprecision.com
This brother and sister from New York City have offered to distribute face masks to healthcare workers in their city.
We suggest sending them via USPS Priority Mail as they should arrive in 1-3 days.
Before you ship, please contact this couple to let them know how many you have to send.

2. All Jo-Ann Fabrics stores are accepting home-made face masks for distribution to healthcare workers. https://www.joann.com/make-to-give-response/
Many stores are supplying all the materials needed for free. All you need to do is sew them together.
Some Jo-Ann Fabric stores do not have any elastic in stock so they are substituting with a different product.
Jo-Ann Fabrics stores that are closed are still offering a place to drop-off masks.

3. In-Kind Donations - Atlantic Health System
For in-kind donations of PPEs (personal protective equipment), please contact Jenny Collins at Atlantic Corporate Health at 973-971-7106 or Jenny.Collins@atlantichealth.org to arrange. For other in-kind donations to Morristown Medical Center, contact the Foundation for Morristown Medical Center at 973-593-2400.
Sussex County Freeholder Deputy Director Dawn Fantasia - email: COVIDDonations@atlantichealth.org | phone: 973-761-3296.
Some healthcare facilities are requesting "4 ply" facemasks. For those using the instructions sent out earlier today, you will need to iron two pieces together and then proceed to fold that in half.

Category: Facemask Designs

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