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To Mask-up or not to Mask-up?

As COVID-19 regulations loosen and more people return to work as well as outdoor activities, face masks have become a staple in our wardrobes, especially for countries like France and Spain, who’s recently joined the list of countries, where face masks are mandatory in public.

Canada has not made face masks compulsory yet, but I see us heading that way soon. However, Canadian public health officials strongly recommend a face covering with at least two layers of breathable fabric such as cotton or linen, especially where social distancing is a challenge. And for any company or person selling masks, the Canadian government has enforced the Textile Labeling Act, requiring all non-medical face masks sold to be labelled, stating the fibre content of the face mask, among other regulations. Dealers who fail to comply with the rules can receive a fine of up to $5,000. 

I guess many countries like Canada haven’t adapted to making face masks compulsory in public because it’s still a point of discussion, considering research shows wearing a surgical or cotton mask does not prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Despite masks not stopping the virus, the Mayo Clinic states masks help to slow down the spread of the virus. Also, wearing a mask or face covering acts as a tangible reminder to prevent you from touching your face.

If you do decide to mask-up and want to make your own, I’ve created two instructional videos, acknowledging not everyone has sewing skills or a sewing machine.

The video below requires no sewing skills, while providing the peace of mind of having a filter pocket. It took me more time to find a T-shirt to cut up than to create the mask. This project is perfect for a beginner.

The next video is for someone that can do a simple running stitch. The video features a filtered pleated mask. If you do not have fabric lying around, I recommend using a pillowcase or a sheet you don’t use.

Remember, all cloth masks must be cleaned after each use. Wash your masks separately from your regular laundry and use the hottest cycle of your washing machine. Next, place it into the dryer, once again using the hottest setting. If you do not have a dryer, use an iron on the steam setting and iron your mask. 

Food for thought

Scenario 1: Picture yourself and a stranger chatting on a bus or any public space. Both, you and the stranger don’t have masks on. Now visualize the invisible germs transmitted to each other. 

Scenario 2: The same setting as above, but you have a mask because you always think of others. Once again you’re both chatting, laughing, exchanging stories and germs. The likelihood of you transmitting germs is slim, but the stranger’s germs land on you and your mask. As you breathe, you inhale a portion of their germs too.

Scenario 3: Once again, the same setting, but you both have masks on because you’re both concerned citizens who think of others. The risk of transmission is now much lower than the previous two scenarios.

We can all agree scenario 3, is a clear winner.

Whether using face coverings are mandatory or not in your region or part of the world, it’s best practice to mask-up. Given the three scenarios, if we all mask-up with the idea of protecting others, while practicing social distance, and frequent hand washing, we can significantly reduce the COVID curve.

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