With the current COVID-19 pandemic going on, it pays to be on the safe side, especially when your health is at stake. That is why we have to take safety precautions all over the world to protect ourselves against the virus, and that includes the wearing of face masks and the use of sanitizers.
Unfortunately, the supply provided cannot catch up with the demand by both the public and the health workers whose use of these items is critical to their functions in treating the infected.
While face masks and sanitizers are in short supply, you can still make some at home to protect you and your family. Creating these items is easy to do; they may have some shortcomings compared to medical-grade products or those sold by stores, but a little prevention is better than nothing. Here are some of the things you can do to create your face masks and sanitizers at home.
Face masks are intended for both virus-infected people and those who are trying to avoid contracting the virus. Face masks work by trapping small particles, preventing the droplets containing the virus from getting to your nose or mouth.
As droplets can stay in the air for minutes to hours on end, and with droplets from sneezes capable of being carried several feet, face masks are your first line of defence against COVID-19.
The recommended material for face masks is cotton fabrics and something called fusible interfacing. In a pinch, though, you can use any fabric. Keep in mind, though, that fabrics are not medically accepted in preventing infection, but they should work in a pinch. You can also insert a few layers of toilet paper under the material to increase its protection level.
Some stores provide free materials for face masks, especially if you would like to create some to donate them. Search around your neighborhood for such establishments, and you can create medically acceptable face masks while also manufacturing some for your use.
The face mask must completely cover your nose and mouth. The best-fitting masks cover the bridge of your nose, under your chin, and around your jawline. The fit must be snug, and the mask should not flap around.
You can fashion ear loops made out of elastic or cloth that you can place around your ears. You can also use other types of material that you can sew at the top and bottom of your mask and tie at the back of your head. You have to make sure that the knots will not come loose for it to be effective.
Experts recommend hand sanitisers to be made up of at least 60% alcohol to be effective. You can create your sanitisers at home using everyday items that you may find at home. However, experts do not recommend these homemade sanitisers unless in extreme situations where not having any on hand poses a high risk of infection. Using the wrong formulation can also pose some risks, so proper care is necessary to prevent further harm.
To create a makeshift sanitiser, you would need some alcohol, glycerin, hydrogen peroxide, and distilled water. You can substitute glycerin with aloe vera gel if the former is not available.
You can also add some essential oils such as tea tree oil, lavender, or eucalyptus to add some fragrance to your formulation. If distilled water is not available, you can simply boil some and let it cool before adding to your concoction.
You can start by adding 12 ounces of alcohol to 2 teaspoons of aloe vera gel or glycerol. You can then mix in 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide as well as some water. The water that you will add in will depend on the strength of the alcohol you have on hand, also it depends on how strong you would like your formula to be. Note that too much alcohol drys out your skin makes it extremely flammable.
A formulation that yields a 60% to 75% alcohol concentration is more than enough to suit your needs. You can also add a few drops of oil to make your sanitiser more fragrant and unique. In the case of using a diluted alcohol solution, you may skimp on the water. Better yet, use alcohol directly instead.
Make sure to sanitise your work area as well as your tools before preparing your DIY sanitizer. Let it sit for 48 to 72 hours to kill any bacteria or viruses that may have been inadvertently introduced into the mixture.
It is also crucial to use your homemade sanitiser sparingly at first to see if it reacts violently.
Take note that creating your own face masks and sanitisers are only temporary and partial solutions; in no way does the use of these items give you the permission to go out and break quarantine or other safety precautions your area has placed to prevent the spread of disease.
Social distancing, minimizing travels, sanitising your immediate surroundings, and frequent handwashing are still among the best and recommended practices to prevent infection. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted the lives of people all over the world.
It has also opened the eyes of many with regard to their own personal health and safety. While items such as face masks and sanitizers were disregarded before the pandemic struck, right now they are almost literally worth their weight in gold. As such, it may be prudent to stock up on these items in the future should crisis strike again.
Your safety should be your utmost concern, and having these essential items and the knowledge on how to create these products, will allow you to do your part in keeping you and your family safe.