The question of whether the “general public” should wear masks to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 continues to be debated. In Canada, the consensus among medical authorities such as the impressive Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, has been that for a number of reasons only medical professionals should wear masks. Tam has argued that (among other things) masks may lead people to have a false sense of security from the virus and thus to neglect other important precautions such as hand-washing and social/physical distancing.
Although widespread agreement remains that both N95 masks and surgical masks should be reserved for front-line workers who urgently need them at this time, emerging research nevertheless suggests that other masks, when worn properly by other members of the public, may decrease transmission of droplets of the virus.
Lots of instructional videos now on YouTube demonstrate how to sew your own face mask. But what if you don’t have access to a sewing machine, a needle and thread, or don’t have the fabric required? What if you can’t afford to purchase a mask online?
One video that circulated on social media last week showed an easy way to make a face mask with a bandana scarf and covered elastic bands. I looked in my closet for a small bandana scarf, but couldn’t find one. I need to make my weekly trip to the grocery store today and I want to wear a mask.
So I came up with this idea. Use a nice cotton sock! I adapted the instructions from the bandana-to-mask video and came up with an easy way to make a mask out of a sock and two covered elastic bands. Here’s how you can do it too.
First, wash your hands. Then get a clean knee-high cotton sock (I chose one with bright pink, purple, and peach stripes). Lay the sock out flat.
Put one of the covered elastic bands (or just plain elastic bands) around each end of the sock and slide each of the bands several centimetres onto the sock toward the centre of the sock.
Now take the toe of the sock and insert it a few centimetres inside the top (or opening) of the sock.
Next, adjust the elastic bands so that they are in the fold that you have made at each end of the sock. Using the elastic straps/bands, pick up the sock-mask, put it up to your face, and pull the elastic straps/bands around your ears.
Try not to touch the sock-mask when you are wearing it. If you need to adjust your sock-mask while you are wearing it, wash your hands or use some hand sanitizer before and after you do so, if you can.
When you take the mask off, don’t touch the sock-mask itself, just the elastic straps. Throw the sock and elastic bands in the dirty laundry. Wash your hands. Relax.
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