Take care of your health with a cloth face mask

Homemade cloth face mask (Doc James)

More than a century had passed since the 1918 flu pandemic struck. In 1918, to deal with the pandemic, the community used masks. In the United States, health experts required everyone to wear a mask. The Red Cross even made thousands of cloth face masks and distributed them for free.

After the pandemic ended, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) almost no longer recommended the use of masks made of any type for healthy people. Together with the World Health Organization, they had suggested that people did not need to wear masks if they were not sick and did not work in high-potential areas exposed to the disease.

But that all changed in early 2020. After a new type of pandemic came this year, a lot of research suggested that there was a group of people who could unwittingly spread the disease. The groups in question were asymptomatic and presymptomatic, i.e. people who carried the disease but had no symptoms.

Therefore, now the mask is recommended for everyone to wear again. Unfortunately, during a pandemic like this, the availability of personal protective equipment such as masks is increasingly rare. That is what makes the CDC recommend people to choose masks made from fabric.

A cloth face mask is not as effective as an N95 or surgical mask. A mask from cotton, for example, has 69 percent effectiveness in counteracting 1-micron particles. Compare that with surgical masks that are 97 percent more effective.

Even so, the figures above are actually effective enough to hold particles. That number is also classified as good in dealing with viruses that are not transmitted through the air but from body fluids or droplets.

Long before, in 2013, researchers from the UK had already examined the effectiveness of cloth face masks in dealing with viruses. They concluded that cloth face masks could be used as disease prevention from droplet transmission, even what was made from household materials such as T-shirts, pillowcases, and scarves, as long as there were at least two layers.

Today's society should wear cloth face masks when leaving the house or in a place with many people. Cloth face masks can ward off viruses by up to 70 percent. Cloth face masks are considered more practical than surgical masks because they can be worn multiple times. But one thing to note, cloth face masks need to be washed periodically with detergent, dried properly, and ironed so that they are dry and clean.

In addition, you also need to know how to wear and remove cloth face masks properly. You should hold the straps, not the fabric, then make sure to cover your mouth, nose, and chin. After wearing and removing cloth face masks, wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer.

The maximum duration of use is also only four hours. That is what makes you should have a lot of cloth face masks.