As businesses start to open and many employees are returning back to work, face masks can play an important role to help contain the Corona Virus and any other harmful viruses from spreading, especially from asymptomatic carriers. It has been known that individuals who lack symptoms (asymptomatic) and those who eventually develop symptoms (presymptomatic) can transmit the virus to others in close proximity causing an exponential increase in cases. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has highly recommended the use of masks, which can potentially reduce the transmission when used as a complement to 6 feet of social distancing.
While medical grade, N-95 masks provide the best protection, homemade and disposable masks can prevent the spread of the virus to others as Dr. Raed Dweik, Chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute confirms. There is evidence that shows that masks reduce the exhaled aerosols from infections and asymptomatic individuals. (Konda et al., 2020) Masks like these are mostly used to protect others and act as a physical barrier. During a cough or a sneeze, a cloud of droplets containing the virus can propel from an individual and spread up to 25 feet. So a face mask can keep these particles from spreading and prevent the number of COVID-19 cases from surging. This is why it is crucial that we all continue to maintain special distancing guidelines while wearing a mask when we are out getting groceries and even when we return back to work.
In guiding the proper way to wear a face mask or "cloth face covering," the CDC outlined five criteria:
- They must fit snugly (but comfortably) against your face
- They must be secured with ties or ear loops
- They must include multiple layers of fabric
- They must allow for breathing without restriction
- They must be washable without damage or shape change
Here is a list of links where you can find out how to make your own masks and purchase reusable/disposable masks:
How to make your own Face Mask
Amazon: Disposable Face Masks
Anthropologie Face Masks