They’ve become the 2020 accessory du jour – masks! They are a first impression on your presence and your health safety in this day of COVID-19. Like any “accessory,” there is a pecking order, alternative sources and ways to properly wear them. But unlike other accessories, these are necessities when venturing out. Here are some tips on the mask world:
Types of masks
- The precious N95 is not only a trick to wear, but it’s generally reserved for health care workers who are working with coronavirus victims. It has to be carefully fitted and was originally designed to be used once. However, since the supply is in such high demand by the health professionals, there have been reports of workers needing to use one mask multiple times. For that reason, its use should be restricted to the people on the front lines.
- The 3-ply disposable surgical masks come in a variety of colors of white and blue and have been the standard surgery wear in medical shows. While the N95 can filter out 95% of contagious particles, these usually filter 60% to 80% and are much more loose fitting. “makes them less effective than N95s.”
- A cottage industry has arisen in which “designer” masks have been created, providing employees with a way to stay employed and helping others in the community. Neiman Marcus has partnered up with Jo-Ann to create “non-surgical-grade PPE, including masks, scrubs and gowns for front-line healthcare providers and patients.” Stanley Korshak’s Ann Sappington sent word that the store’s bridal salon is selling 2-layer masks made of 100% cotton with a pocket for filter insert. They’re going for $25 benefiting Hopeful Heart “to assist in paying seamstresses who are making much-needed equipment for the medical community and to help support American families during this difficult time.” You just need to text 214.864.4113 and mention Ann in your order. Still other area retailers and services like upscale boutique Hadleigh’s ($20 to $150+) and dog groomer Adorable Grooms ($10) are also selling similar masks for adults and children.
- The homemade version varies from maker to maker. From bandanas to pillow cases with ponytail rubber bands, they’re handy if you don’t have a source and they’re easy to create. You can create a whole ensemble to go with your wardrobe. The secret to success is to use material with a high thread count. Warning: Wash the material before you make your mask. That will help prevent the mask from shrinking after being washed and machine dried.
- Those with filter inserts can be a bit of a head-scratcher. What type of filter do you need? The kind you use in your air conditioner? No. A simple coffee filter or even a double dose of paper towels will do the trick.
- The main purpose of the new look is to protect your nose and mouth from inhaling or expelling any COVID-19 germs. When donning the mask make sure that it extends from above your nose to below your chin with no gaps. Sounds easy, but if it’s too snug you might find breathing a bit of a challenge.
- If you wear glasses, put the mask on first.
- Don’t wear lipstick. If can mess up the interior of your mask.
- When you’re ready to take it off, the CDC is recommending that the wearer “not touch their eyes, nose and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.”
- If your mask is cloth, toss it in the washing machine for thorough cleaning.