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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Face Masks 101: Tips, Care and Etiquette

Apr 29, 2020 06:11PM ● By Shauna Smith
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t wear fabric face masks to keep COVID-19 out of our bodies, we wear them to keep it in. Washable, reusable fabric face masks help keep water vapor and spittle, the vehicle that carries live viruses, contained. Because this stealthy virus can live for weeks unknown inside our bodies, we wear this mask out of respect and concern for those around us.
   
The future has arrived. When we see someone who is a point source in a place of commerce, such as a cashier, a delivery driver or a cook, without a mask on, we can politely ask them, “Why?” These people could be infecting many other people every day they work, and the ripple effect is exponential.
   
The truth is evident that collectively participating in wearing a mask in public is an important practice in helping to control the expansion of COVID-19 and many other illnesses. With so many styles of face masks to choose from, what do we look for?
   
First, a good fit. A mask should have complete coverage of the nose and mouth and stay in place while we talk. There are many people wearing their masks on their chin, with the nose and mouth hanging out. This happens because as we speak, many styles of masks slowly migrate down off the nose, meaning we must use our hand to keep it in place. This is not possible when working a register or filling an order. It is also dangerous to put our hands on our face or near our eyes. The second thing to look for is comfort. It should be something that can be worn all day with ease, and be easy to breathe in.

Materials to avoid in a face mask:
• Knits (stretchy or spongey fabrics), which do not filter well
• Synthetics, which allow COVID-19 to survive longer on their surface
• A mask with any filter not intended for breathing through—especially Pellon or fusible interfacing

General face mask care:
• Wear one side out to the world and the other side in until it is washed.
• Wash the mask daily. A bowl of hot, sudsy water is fine. We just don’t want     bacteria to grow on it.
• If a mask may have been contaminated, boil it for a minute. It may shrink a little.
• Store dirty masks separately from clean ones.

CDC on Homemade Cloth Face Coverings

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has several recommendations regarding homemade cloth face masks and coverings. These guidelines can help us make safe decisions involving the wear of homemade face coverings.
   
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
   
CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
   
Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
   
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, or anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
   
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

NAK Sewing and Design Lab is continually working on developing the most comfortable and well-fitting fabric face covering on the market, with future products to include an active style for heavy breathing and a summer style for hot climates. 

Connect with Shauna Smith at 520-261-9548, [email protected] or order online at NAKMasks.com. Masks are $10 each. They can be picked up at Campbell & Fort Lowell, or delivered for $7 per package—up to 20 units per package.
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