Wearing a Homemade Mask in Public

Should I wear a homemade mask in public?

We say “Yes!” However, we recognize that there is still some controversy so not everyone may agree with us. But more and more countries, including Canada, are saying it can be useful.

What can a homemade mask do?

A homemade mask mostly reduces germs spreading from you during a cough or sneeze. Sort of like coughing into your elbow - but with better coverage! A mask may also reduce the germs you breathe in, though it is likely less effective doing this.

Will a mask protect me?

A homemade mask is likely best at protecting others from you because COVID-infected people shed the virus a few days before they become sick. Remember, "My mask protects you; your mask protects me." By wearing a mask, you are showing your concern and respect for others. The mask can also stop many, though not all, of the particles you breathe in which may reduce the likelihood of you getting infected.

Does this mean I can stop those other bothersome measures or go out more?

No, no, no! Absolutely not! Mask wearing is just one of the many things you can do to protect yourself and. You must not stop any other preventive measures already recommended.

And what do you mean by "going out in public"?

Generally, we mean you are going to be in a public place with other people and may not be able to keep appropriate distancing, such as any store, hospital, clinic, etc. If you walking in the woods or driving in your car with people you live with, you don't need a mask.

How can I make a mask?

There are many patterns available and which one is "the best" is unclear. For general public use, it is not clear that constructing one with a pocket for filtering material is of benefit and, if it restricts air flow too much, may just make the mask unwearable. For some instructions for making your own mask click here.

How do I Use my Mask?

You want the mask to cover your mouth and nose and to have as few leaks around the edges as possible. If the mask has a stiffener over the bridge of your nose, bend it so it fits well. When taking it off, hold it by the ties. You can place the mask face-down in a plastic (“Tupperware”) container with the ties free. You can then put it on again touching only the ties. Always put the same side against your face – the outside is “contaminated.” Launder it every night with soap and water.

Summary:

If you are well but must go out in public, wear a homemade mask. If you don't have to go out, don't! If you aren't well, just don't go out - call your doctor! And you must continue to follow all the other recommendations: wash/sanitize your hands, maintain physical distancing and minimize trips for groceries and necessary supplies.

We will update this page as more information becomes available. Stay well!

 

Drs Beach, Tromp and Walman

Last update: 18 May 2020