COVID-19 has brought up the question of the importance of masks. While there are disagreements on whether these masks are effective or not, we can all agree that they do offer some protection both for the wearer and for others. 

Originally the WHO and the CDC were say that if you are healthy, masks only need to be worn around a person that has been suspected of having COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed its policy and is now advising everyone, whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19, to cover their face with a mask or cloth covering whenever social distancing is difficult to maintain. To be clear, the CDC is not saying you should wear a mask wherever you go, but rather in places where people congregate, including grocery stores and public transportation and ride-shares.

To assure that masks are effective, it is essential to use it in combination with hand washing with soap and water. This is the best way to combat the virus and prevent it from spreading to others. It is also important to know how to put it on properly, and how to remove masks properly. Masks should be replaced if they get damp and you dispose of single-use masks. Cloth masks should be washed after every wearing so it's good to have a couple of them.

Due to the fact that it is almost impossible to purchase masks during this time, one easy alternative is to make your own. Here is a simple way to make a mask without having to sew.

  1. Lay a bandana flat in a rectangle and fold it in half lengthwise.
  2. Cut the bottom of a folded coffee filter and fold the cut filter in the center of the folded bandana. Then, fold the top of the bandana over the filter and fold the bottom up.
  3. Place rubber bands or hair ties around the folded banana 6 inches apart.
  4. Fold the side of the bandana in toward the middle and tuck.
  5. Place the rubber bands or hair ties around your ears 

These instructions, along with photos, can be found here:

After returning from your destination, it is extremely important to wash the mask immediately so that it does not infect you or your belongings. It is important to remember that homemade masks are not a substitute for social distancing and staying inside.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Madison Senior Center and a link back to the original post.