COVID-19 pandemic has had nations struggling to provide much-needed supplies to overflowing hospitals, and we’ve witnessed many heartwarming instances of where people went out on a limb to help each other.
From one Boy Scout 3D printing numerous “ear guards” to help medical staff who are suffering from face masks to civil initiatives in Hong Kong trying to manufacture their own masks because of shortages, this trying times has been a proof of the good side of our communities.
For those who are interested in making their own masks using the materials at hand, filtration engineers of Georgia Tech have shared some advice on how you can protect yourself and others on a new website.
It is for certain that the frontline healthcare workers interacting with COVID-19 patients should use certified personal protective equipment; however, according to Ryan Lively, an associate professor in Georgia Tech, “For situations that don’t involve intimate and prolonged interactions with COVID-19 infected individuals, we believe that DIY cloth face masks combined with proper social distancing etiquette will help slow the spread of the virus.”
So yes, to some point, homemade protection as simple as scarves and bandannas can be helpful. They believe that two or more layers of a tightly woven, knitted, or nonwoven fabric can provide at least a partial barrier to virus-containing droplets.
Moreover, their new website has numerous recommendations and templates for making face masks. You can find valuable information and guidance for making unsewn, sewn, glued, or 3D-printed face masks.
You can find material alternatives to those that are in short supply. Did you know that reusable polypropylene grocery bags without a shiny film can be used as a droplet-repelling outer shell for the masks? The more you know!
You can find everything from directions and recommendations to files for 3D printers and more. The team is going through new information and actively testing fabric materials to provide better recommendations for which fabrics to use and which to avoid.
You can see the DIY test of using a water spray bottle to make an initial assessment of how suitable a fabric is for a mask.
However, you should know that the way that you fit, wear, handle, and remove the face mask is equally important. They've included information on that as well.
While it should be noted that masks produced or tested with directions from the site do not meet the standards of federal agencies such as NIOSH, OSHA, or the FDA, they will help you nonetheless if you have your mind set on DIY-ing a face mask. Now you can at least do it with caution!