Homemade fabric masks against coronavirus is this really a good idea?
Since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic, surgical masks have been ripping off, and hospitals have been concerned about the shortage of this tool necessary to protect health care workers. An alternative method blooms online: the coronavirus homemade mask. But this summary bulwark is only ineffective, especially if it is poorly worn.
The surgical face protection mask has become the symbol of the epidemic, the tool by excellence to avoid contamination, and everyone wants his own. But this object is in the center of a daily battle between the government and freaking citizens, in order to avoid shortages. There are indeed fears that this highly sought-after protective equipment will be lacking in hospitals, for health care workers who have to treat COVID-19 patients without being infected themselves, so here comes the idea of a coronavirus homemade mask.
The government is calling on the public not to get them, and to leave them to the sick, for health transport, personal assistance, and caregivers.
In order to benefit from a mask without tapping into existing stocks, many online tutorials for “coronavirus homemade mask” protection are flourishing. “Tuto making masks,” “a tuto to make your own coronavirus homemade mask in two steps three movements,” “tutorial mask against coronavirus” … Many rely on a document circulated by the Grenoble University Hospital, giving patterns and a method to create his own fabric mask.
Is the tissue ineffective against the virus
“The tissue is somehow ineffective because what is expected of a homemade coronavirus mask is microscopic filtration,” Dr. Stéphane Gayet, an infectious disease doctor at the CHRU in Strasbourg, France, told Le Figaro: In order to be completely protective, a mask must be able to stop the secretions emitted by coughing, through which COVID-19 is transmitted.
In an article explaining that protecting the mouth with a scarf or scarf was not helpful against coronavirus, Fox News explained that coronavirus measures only 60 to 140 nanometers (for example, a hair measures 100,000 nanometers on average). The protection to be used must, therefore, be studied to properly stop these micro-particles.
“That pharmacists make hydro-alcoholic gel is something that is accessible, with a recipe, a chemical mixture, and doses to respect. But the masks must be tested: you can’t do anything and everything,” Pascal Astagneau, an infectious disease doctor at the Paris Public Hospitals Assistance, told France Inter, referring to “false protection.”
A “last resort” solution
“It’s better than nothing,” says Dr. Jean-Paul Hamon, a general practitioner in Clamart and president of the French Federation of Physicians, in 20 minutes. “I even tried to mobilize the knitters in my city to make these handmade masks. Given the glaring failure of the administration, unfortunately, we are tinkering with solutions that are not really anywhere!”
A 2013 British study published in the scientific journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness compares the effectiveness of surgical masks and fabric masks. Their findings suggest that “a homemade mask should only be considered as a last resort to prevent the transmission of droplets by infected people, but is better than no protection at all.” In their study, “the surgical mask was found to be 3 times more effective at blocking transmission than the homemade mask.”
“So it’s not a medical device, be careful, it’s just the first barrier that will protect you from droplet projections and avoid hand-to-mouth contact,” explains the Instagram page Make My Lemonade, in a tutorial to learn how to make your own fabric mask. It is specified from the beginning of the video that “these masks – to, they are only worn for a few hours max”.
A poorly worn mask is ineffective and dangerous.
The danger of wearing masks, whatever they may be, lies mainly in the use that is made of them. “I see a lot of masks in the street, I see a lot of masks in professionals who have no reason to be exposed to patients. These masks are misplaced, these masks are misused,” Said Director-General of Health Jérôme Salomon at his daily press briefing on Tuesday evening, calling for attention to their use.
In the tutorial provided by the CHU of Oakland, for example, it is specified that one should wash his cloth mask “daily” with “30oC with conventional detergent”. In addition, it should only be worn for a few hours.
The World Health Organization stresses that “the mask is only effective if it is associated with frequent hand washing with a hydroalcoholic solution or with water and soap.” Then, the mask should “cover the nose and mouth and make sure to adjust it to your face as best you can,” the WHO writes. It is absolutely not necessary to touch the front when it is worn, and when it is used, throw it in a closed trash can and wash your hands back, with soap or a hydroalcoholic solution.