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COVID-19: Staying Home, Staying Safe and keeping up with your Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Part 1

Wear a Mask – Slow the Spread!

With the combination of frequent hand washing and physical distancing, wearing a face mask can help to slow the spreading of the virus, according to supporting research. The wearing of a face mask has become the norm in many Asian countries since the onset of COVID-19, and more recently, the USFrance, and parts of Italy have also urged people to wear “alternative” masks – such as cloth face coverings.

Our local vets calling out for home-made face masks (all masks have been given to the NHS), but in other countries people are making for the hospitals, as supply is not meeting demand. During the past 6 weeks, I have been producing masks for myself, my carer and my mum (to use in the supermarket, when walking down the high street, etc.) in addition to around 30 masks produced for local key workers and veterinary surgeries.

To be clear this is a LAST RESORT mask for the NHS – and yet, during the past week, both my mother and I have been producing them for Physiotherapists and other staff working at Leighton Hospital, in addition to full sets of scrubs, scrubs bags and crocheted clips / headbands (which secure the mask behind the users head, to avoid rubbing the ears if wearing for a long time). The patterns and instructions for these can be found below.

Face Mask: You can use (clean) old sheets, for example, and some elastic, to easily make your own for yourself and your family – a great up-cycling project!

If you want to read more there are some links below but this is good too:

Crocheted Mask Clips: Even if you have never crocheted before, this is a great time to learn! Using a bamboo DK yarn and a 4 or 5 mm hook, make 20 crochet loops to start. Then double crochet all the way round, with 3 in each of the end stitches – then sew buttons on! Easy peasy!

Crocheted bands

Headbands: Again, using scrap stretch poly-cotton fabric, these can be run up really easily with a zig zag or lightning stitch on a machine, and then just sew on two buttons at the sides! Simples!

If you have the resources and the skills / time – do look on Facebook for groups taking donations of these items (there are even groups calling out for just the materials if you find you are lacking in time to produce these!), or if you know of any key workers, you can always ask them what they / their colleagues are short of.

Tips and tricks to wearing a mask:

  • Wash your hands before you put on the mask.
  • The mask should fit snugly on your face – make sure you are using the right size! Press the top part of the mask tightly over the bridge of your nose, and pull the mask all the way down over your chin. Your nose, mouth, and chin should be well-covered.
  • After putting on the mask, avoid touching it for hygienic reasons. If you do touch it – to take it off, for example – be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. If you are using a home-make / cloth mask (see instructions above), ensure that this is then washed.
  • Most importantly, be sure to properly dispose of your used masks (or any other single use PPE) in your main bin, and do not litter on the streets or any public space!

Further Reading

Confused about wearing a mask? Yes, it’s complicated. But not as complicated as some people imply. The following papers give a great background  Face Masks Against COVID-19: An Evidence Review — with 84 references! — and Face masks for the public during the covid-19 crisis.