SAN ANTONIO – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now officially recommended that everyone but infants should wear a cloth mask or face covering in certain public settings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In addition, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced Monday that Metro Health officials recommend anyone over five years old wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth in public.
Medical grade or N-95 face masks are in high demand, but they are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.
However, there are alternative ways you can make a covering at home and get some protection if you need to be outdoors.
Be mindful that a homemade mask does not replace social distancing and should not give people a false sense of security. It is simply some type of protection.
All social distancing guidelines remain in place and should be used under every circumstance.
The CDC has a section on its website dedicated to making a homemade face mask or a cloth covering.
Here’s what you should know.
- The coverings should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
- Make sure the coverings are secured with ties or ear loops.
- Include multiple layers of fabric and allow for breathing without restriction.
- Types of fabric to look for include tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. A T-shirt fabric will also work.
Joanne Stores has face covering tutorials on its website and their rule of thumb is that if you fold the fabric in two layers, you shouldn’t be able to see through it but should still be able to breathe through it.
A few more recommendations from the CDC:
- Make sure the covering can be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
- Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing the face covering and wash your hands immediately after its removed.
The CDC has several recommendations to make a covering. Some include using a sewing machine and other methods. One the most convenient if you do not have a sewing machine requires a T-shirt and scissors.
According to the CDC, cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, 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, the CDC says.