Rumours have been flying around that IF the lockdown rules are relaxed, it may be compulsory to wear a facemask when out in public .In confined areas there is a good case for their enforcement.
For me personally, when I venture out to the supermarket or anywhere I have to go shopping in, I am mindful of being enclosed and in quite close proximity to others and therefore I do feel a bit safer when I am wearing a mask.
I was very sceptical as to the benefit of masks for a long while. I remember my dear dentist telling me one time that he wore a mask so he didn’t breath Balti all over me! I soon became a convert after hearing an interview with Gary Liu, a journalist in Hong Kong who lived through the SARS outbreak back at the start of the century. Historically,’ disasters’ have been a great catalyst for change of legislation regarding Health & Safety. Hong Kong made changes back then and the evidence as to the benefit of their experience has been no more apparent than in countries where they have experienced similar crisis to the one we are all experiencing now. History repeated itself and these countries, such as Hong Kong and South Korea managed to contain the outbreak dramatically. In comparison the reaction in the rest of the world has been quite different. Korea and Hong Kong had the T Shirt with the box tick on it and had learnt from their previous experience. Face masks have now become a common accessory.
So that is why I am persuaded they are a good thing. When facemasks are used in conjunction with all the other advice from the authorities.
I am VERY concerned about what the impact will be on the environment if everyone rushes out and buys disposable face masks. It is starting to become a bit of an eyesore to see discarded PPE in public places. Not only is it a health hazard, but a blight on the environment too. I also think that it goes without saying that disposable masks should be reserved for front-line workers.
Its hard for me to be unbiased and retain any credibility if I weigh up the pros and cons of facemasks for use by the general public, especially as I am selling reusable ones. I could flood this blog with reports that will support my conviction that they serve a purpose. It is possible to find research on the web that tells you whatever you want it to say, I think people are capable of making up their own minds. The Ted Talk interview I referred to earlier can be found here. It lasts for about an hour, but in my opinion is interesting and informative; Worth spending the time listening.
My one assertion is that if Facemask wearing is made compulsory for the public in crowded areas, they need to be reusable! If we dispose of anything, it is the throw-away society that we have created..
We must though, have been heartened by the incredible positive affect on the planet in terms of pollution since we went into lock down.
I hope and pray that we are all going to raise our game in our efforts to adopt even more environmentally conscious behaviours as a result. Lets hear it for reusable sustainable facemasks. Lets let the Frontline workers have the disposable masks.
Since I decided to make and sell re-usable masks, I have researched lots of the advice out there to see what good looks like. There are no standards. But there is a lot of advice about what the requirements are.
Here is the most relevant and consistenet advice that I have found about re-usable masks.
How To Take Care And Keep The Masks Clean
Whenever you have been outside, the potential for the mask to be contaminated on the outside is exactly the same as for your hands and for the goods and chattels you bring into the house. Therefore, the following advice is given with regard to keeping the masks clean
- Wash your mask before its first use.
- When you return home, remove the mask and keep it in a sealed container until it can be washed
- To Hand Wash – wash in extremely hot water, ideally over 60°C and use a detergent such as washing up liquid. Do not use softeners or fabric conditioners
- Wash in the washing machine at 60° C and do not use fabric conditioner, or a detergent that has an added moisturiser. Also, to protect the elastic, it would benefit from being in a mesh delicates bag.
- The masks can be cleaned in other household cleaners such as disinfectant, hydrogen peroxide (found in household bleach), or a surgical spirit with at least 70% of alcohol content
- If washing is not possible, spritz the mask both inside and out to saturation, with an alcohol spray of at least 70% alcohol content.
WHAT DOES A GOOD FACE MASK LOOK LIKE?
Adequate coverage and a good fit around the nose and mouth
Good Filtration. This report explains this better than I can
Breathable – If the mask is not comfortable, it will not be worn
Comfortable Against The Skin – wicking fabric to draw moisture away from the face
Anti-Microbial – A fabric which has been treated to inhibit microbial growth in the warm moist environment
Easily Identifiable from other family members’ masks.
DISCLAIMER:- Using Facemasks is one of many behaviours we all can to adopt to stay safe. They are not a guaranteed protective device against Covid19. This advice is a summary of the advice that is widely available on the Internet. The aim of this blog is to summarise what is our opinion of the best advice out there for people who decide to wear a reusable mask. Do not forget the existing advice from the government. with regard to social distancing, washing your hands, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, avoid crowded places and anyone who has a fever or a cough, if you feel unwell stay at home, if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, call 111 and follow the advice from trusted sources.