SAN ANTONIO – On Thursday, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued an addendum to the mayor’s fifth emergency declaration requiring anyone 10 years of age and older to wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth as an added safety measure to protect the public from COVID-19.
The face coverings are required whenever anyone goes out into public and when working close to others. The face coverings are not really meant to protect the wearer from COVID-19, but more to protect others from individuals who may have COVID-19 and don’t know it because they are not showing symptoms.
The mayor urged people not to procure medical masks or N-95 respirators because they are needed for health care workers and first responders. Many businesses are selling re-usable masks for the public, but masks can also be made at home from material, scarfs, bandanas or even a handkerchief.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said face coverings should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops
- Include multiple layers of fabric
- Allow for breathing without restriction
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
If you can sew, there are patterns for making homemade masks. The CDC has a pattern online. University Health System has released some instructions and patterns that were designed and tested by a team of UHS surgeons, nurses and engineers. KSAT also did a story about the chief executive nurse at University Health System who designed a mask with 99.5% filtration efficiency. She said she will create a PDF of her design soon.
There are plenty of options for no-sew masks as well. Actor Matthew McConaughey has demonstrated how to make face mask with a bandana and a coffee filter.
As you can see there are many options for making a face covering. Here are some other important things to consider when making a homemade mask.
- Never use fiberglass filters in your masks. Fiberglass is dangerous to your lungs and skin.
- Be sure to clean your mask often, but never microwave your mask. Some have tried to do so hoping to sanitize them, but it’s a major fire hazard.
- Babies should NEVER wear face masks! Click here to read more about that.
- Be sure you’re wearing your mask correctly. Wear it over your mouth and nose and once it’s on and you’re in public, don’t take it off and on. Click here to read more about how to wear a mask. Also, watch this video from a nurse explaining how easily it is to cross contaminate while wearing a mask or gloves.