Face Masks - disposable and cloth

$15.00 each


We now have a good supply of 3-ply Disposable Surgical Face Masks. These come in packs of 3 masks. These masks reduce droplet spread through coughing and sneezing on others, on the basis of, "your mask protects me: my mask protects you."

We now have N95 masks in stock too.

I also have a limited supply of hand-sewn cloth face masks.

She's done a beautiful job, they're two layers of tight-weave  quilting fabric. The inside layer is plain white, the outer layer is patterned. There is a pocket in which you can place filter paper if you wish.

The top of the mask has wire tape so you can adjust it comfortably to the shape of the bridge of your nose.

There are two pairs of soft elastic ties to tie behind your head.

We have found that breathing with these masks in situ is easy and comfortable. That's important. A too-zealous mask that makes it hard to breath is not going to result in much compliance.

We also have cute Ear Savers to wear with elastic ear-loop type masks, to save the back of your ears from getting irritated.


Safely using masks:

Home-made cloth masks like this may have a use in such circumstances:

- you have upper respiratory symptoms and would like to not sneeze or cough on others

- you are looking after a family member with symptoms

- you have close contact with members of the public

- you are caring for symptomatic people but don't have access to a ready supply of PPE

- if wearing a mask reminds you avoid touching your face (you have to avoid touching the mask too though!)

To use such masks effectively

- the mask needs to fit snugly under your chin and over the bridge of your nose

- avoid wearing the mask for more than 4 hours

- do not touch the mask

- change the mask if it becomes damp for any reason

- drop it into a wet bag after removing it. Then wash your hands. Don a fresh mask after eating etc.

- hand washing is still the single most helpful thing we can do to prevent spread of contagion.

- wearing a cotton garment that can be readily disposed of and laundered (similar to scrubs in purpose) is worth considering if you're in a situation where wearing a mask is a good idea.

- launder the masks in a hot water wash with plain laundry detergent. Dry in the sunshine if practical.


The ethics of masks:

- the main purpose of wearing masks to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses is to protect OTHERS - not oneself.

- no, I don't think it's a bow to authoritarianism and that wearing masks causes one to be "muzzled". It's your choice. Wear one if you think it helps. No-one's forcing you. Even if wearing masks becomes as commonplace here as it is in Asian countries, I hold no fears that that would curb our ability to air our various opinions and views across all manner of media platforms ...

- cloth masks may serve a purpose at such times, if it helps keep PPE available to front line health workers.

- if you don't have symptoms and aren't around people who do, you can get away with not wearing a mask.


The research on masks:

* Masks for all? The science says yes.

* This article, Testing the Efficacy of Homemade Masks: Would They Protect in an Influenza Pandemic? concludes that: "Our findings suggest that a homemade mask should only be considered as a last resort to prevent droplet transmission from infected individuals, but it would be better than no protection."

* Advice from the WHO - When and How to Use Masks

* The Lancet concludes in favour of adding the general wearing of masks to hand-washing: Rational use of face masks in the COVID-19 pandemic

* This article acknowledges that cloth masks are about half as effective as surgical masks, but doesn't discourage them altogether: 

Can Face Masks Protect You from the 2019 Coronavirus? What Types, When and How to Use

* This article suggests that 2 layers of close-weave cloth, such as quilting cotton, is about the best we can do when it comes to DIY cloth masks: What Are The Best Materials for Making DIY Masks? Note: there's been a warning against using vacuum cleaner bags as filters in such masks - because of the fibreglass!


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