Coronavirus: Government details process to make face masks at home
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the government has recommended reusable homemade face masks for healthy persons. The government said face masks will help in "protecting the community at large" and should be worn in public. An advisory issued by the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Indian government details the process for making face masks. Here's how you can make one at home.
Government recommends following procedure for DIY face masks
Requirements: a clean piece of 100% cotton fabric (cut 9"x7" for adults), four pieces of cloth strips, a pair of scissors and a sewing machine. The 9"x7" fabric is to be folded in pleats and stitched. Two strips (1.5"x5") are then to be used as piping to the fabric, and two other strips (1.5"x 40") as strings for tying the mask.
Government advisory listed a few precautions to follow
The cloth used for the mask must be washed for 5 minutes with boiling water and salt beforehand. Do not share a mask with anyone. Ensure that the mask wraps around the face perfectly and there are no gaps between it and the mouth. Wash hands thoroughly before wearing the mask. Also wash and clean the masks regularly, as instructed. Never reverse the mask.
Here are 3 recommended ways to clean the masks
The masks must be washed regularly. Reuse without washing is discouraged. For washing, you can either: Thoroughly clean the mask with soap and water and dry it in the sun for five hours. Boil it in salted water in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes or a pan for 15 minutes. Wash it with soap and water and iron it for five minutes.
How to properly remove the face mask after use
Always untie the bottom string first and then the one above. Only touch the strings while removing the mask and avoid touching the front cover. Drop the mask directly into salted boiling water or a soap solution. Wash your hands immediately after removing the mask.
Government advisory lists additional tips for using masks
The government recommends making two of such masks to ensure one can be used while the other is washed and dried. The masks must be stored in clean, sealed plastic bags. The plastic bag must also be washed thoroughly before use. Even while wearing the mask, maintain a distance of up to 2 meters from other persons. Also avoid touching your face and eyes.
South Rajasthan Health workers currently using such masks, says government
The government notification said such masks are currently being used by community health workers of organizations in South Rajasthan. If you do not have a sewing machine, you can make a mask using a handkerchief and rubber bands. Here's a step-by-step illustrated guide: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/Advisory&ManualonuseofHomemadeProtectiveCoverforFace&Mouth.pdf.