Antiviral face masks are in high demand every time there is a disease outbreak like the newly discovered Coronavirus, or during flu season. Aside from medical professionals, the general public wears face masks as a protection measure in case of diseases, dust, bacteria, and pollution. During an outbreak, the sick person should wear the mask to avoid spreading infections, especially if going out in crowded areas and mingling with others. The antiviral face mask is not designed to protect the user from inhaling airborne bacteria type or virus particles.
In this article, we are specifically addressing the antiviral face mask in the context of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We are going to follow the official recommendations and guidelines regarding the use of face masks, as well as share the available products on the market.
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals, and nothing in this article should be construed as medical advice. You should immediately consult your doctor in case of any symptoms, doubts, or questions regarding Coronavirus. To stay up to date in regards to COVID-19, follow the official sources:
Current Situation with Antiviral Face Masks
Here are a few important points to keep in mind related to the current situation with the antiviral face masks:
- There’s currently a shortage of antiviral face masks on the market, so be mindful of possible wait times and of the needs of others. The medical field is overburdened and in desperate need of masks.
- Beware of price gouging, some businesses might try to take advantage of the situation and sell at enormous prices; always buy from reputable vendors who protect the consumer.
- At this moment, in the United States, CDC’s recommendation is that the general public should wear cloth face masks. “The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.”
The FTC has issued a guide designed to protect consumers against coronavirus scams. Here’s the official document: Coronavirus Scams: What the FTC is doing
Due to the high demand for products in the hope of preventing the spread of Coronavirus, many companies are taking advantage, claiming that their products can prevent or cure Coronavirus. Take note that there are currently no vaccines or drugs approved to treat the virus. You need to stay away from companies that claim that their products do so. FDA has issued warning letters to companies for unsupported claims that products can treat or prevent Coronavirus.
Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Etsy, and other reputable retailers have removed products that practice false advertising and price gouging. Be aware and stay away from sellers who take advantage of the situation.
In the picture:
UNIME Protective Face Masks-get more info
3 ANTIVIRAL/SURGICAL FACE MASKS (CORONAVIRUS):
The folks at Amazon also have their own list of best antiviral/surgical face masks – many are on sale.
Types of Face Masks Used as Protection Against Coronavirus
What kind of face masks are effective in the fight against the new coronavirus? Here’s a very important statement by FDA in a recent article regarding medical equipment shortage during the coronavirus pandemic:
On the other hand, there have been studies made in preparation for a potential influenza pandemic that evaluate the use of face masks against respiratory infections. One such study, “Professional and home-made face masks reduce exposure to respiratory infections among the general population”, published in 2008 by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), offers some conclusions potentially relevant to the current coronavirus pandemic:
Here are the main types of face masks being used as protection against coronavirus:
- N95 Respirators are approved by NIOSH, and intended to reduce wearer’s exposure to particles including small particle aerosols and large droplets (only non-oil aerosols). Currently reserved for the medical professionals.
- Surgical masks are medical grade face masks cleared by FDA; they are fluid resistant and provide the wearer protection against large droplets, splashes, or sprays of bodily or other hazardous fluids; also protect the patient from the wearer’s respiratory emissions. Currently reserved for medical professionals in most markets. Check this infographic published by CDC regarding the N95 and surgical masks.
- Other commercial protective masks include surgical-style masks of various qualities not approved by FDA, industrial masks designed against dust, pollution, etc. They are typically made from non-woven material or other protective fabric, and most likely include some layer of filtration material.
- Cloth masks, also called fashion masks in some countries (like Japan or South Korea). They are made either commercially or at home from different kinds of fabric.
Top 10 Best Face Masks
Here’s our selection of the best antiviral face masks we found on Amazon. If we are to look at the classification above, they fit in the third category of “other commercial protective masks”. The masks available for the general public on Amazon are surgical-style non-medical masks (not FDA-approved), as well as other commercially made industrial masks and general-purpose masks offering protection against dust, pollution, etc.
Amazon has officially restricted the sale of N95 respirators, surgical masks, and other medical supplies to hospitals and government organizations combating the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Because many of the face masks available to the general public are not regulated by any entity, expect various materials and qualities. There have been multiple complaints about low quality. Sometimes these products have terrible reviews, but there’s a lack of better products. It’s also tough to keep up with the existing best sellers due to quick turnaround in their inventories. Sometimes a product may be on our list simply because they have the available inventory. Use your best judgment in making the selection.
What is the Official Recommendation for Wearing a Mask Against COVID-19?
Health officials around the world have warned people to prepare for the spread of COVID-19. However, at first, the official guidance in regards to face masks varied a lot. Now that the pandemic spread significantly to many parts of the world and we are facing the gravity of the situation, the official recommendations in various countries all tend to include some type of face coverings.
The CDC now advises the general public to wear cloth masks. According to a recent study, there are individuals with Coronavirus who lack symptoms or otherwise known as asymptomatic. These people can still transmit the virus to each other before showing symptoms. Meaning, the virus can spread between people who are interacting in close proximity. Because of this, CDC now recommends wearing cloth masks in public settings where the social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, like in pharmacies and grocery stores.
The current guidelines about face coverings are in addition to other measures for preventing the spread of the virus, like social distancing and hand washing.
Back when there were very few cases of Coronavirus in the U.S., CDC recommended that if you’re not sick, you should not wear a mask. However, this is a dynamic situation without any precedent, and we need to adjust to the ongoing research and discoveries related to the pandemic.
CDC recommends the use of simple cloth face coverings that can be made at home from common materials at a low cost. Cloth masks are an additional voluntary public health measure.
New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio said, “We’re advising New Yorkers to wear a face-covering when you go outside and will be near other people,” He also added, “When you put on that face covering, you’re protecting everyone else. A lot of people out there, right this minute, don’t even know they have it.”
The City of Los Angeles has issued new guidance to the L.A. residents on the importance of wearing face coverings in public. They stated on their website that these measures will help flatten the curve and save lives.
Follow CDC’s “How to Protect Yourself” recommendations in real-time to stay up to date.
✅ Video – CDC Recommends Americans Wear Nonmedical Cloth Masks As US Coronavirus Cases Increase at Alarming Rate
The video below tackles the new recommendation implemented by the CDC, which is to wear non-medical masks. In the video, President Donald Trump addresses the general public about using non-medical masks. They can either purchase or create masks at home. According to the CDC, talking may spread Coronavirus, which is why wearing non-medical masks is necessary to prevent transmission. However, the mask is no substitute for social distancing.
At least in some areas, the use of face masks to contain the spread of the virus is mandatory. There have been reported incidents of people getting in trouble for not wearing a face mask.
For example, a Chinese woman was wrestled to the ground and dragged out of a supermarket by police for refusing to wear a mask.
✅ Video – Chinese woman refuses to wear a mask during Coronavirus outbreak
In this video, an elderly Chinese woman refuses to wear a surgical mask on the bus. A policeman tries to persuade her to wear one. Some people get off the bus due to the incident. The bus cannot leave unless all passengers wear a mask. The footage triggered people’s anger: “She needs to be responsible for herself and other people. Don’t be so stubborn.” It shows that in China, where thousands are infected, wearing a face mask is the first line of defense against the spreading of Coronavirus.
What is Amazon Doing to Protect its Consumers Against Coronavirus Scams?
We are enrolled in the Amazon Associates program, meaning that we earn money from qualifying purchases made using links from our site. We trust Amazon because of the extensive effort they put into making sure their customers are well-protected. In these times of crisis, we appreciate the measures they take to prevent fraud, notably price gouging and false advertising. For more information on what Amazon is doing, check out their article.
Per CNBC article, Amazon is also restricting access to sellers of disposable face masks and other items related to the current pandemic, as well as cracking down on ads bidding for “coronavirus” as a keyword to advertise their products as sponsored listings.
We appreciate the strong position Amazon takes in protecting its employees, customers, and communities. Here’s an article from their blog with the timeline and details of their efforts.
Current Issues with Existing Surgical Masks on the Market
There’s currently an absolutely massive shortage of surgical face masks on the market worldwide. According to CNN and other sources, hospitals fear they will run out of their supply in the near future and request volunteers to make homemade facemasks. There are reported incidents where such volunteers have to triage requests and ask people to wait so that they can support nurses and doctors.
Amid this massive shortage, there are some common complaints regarding the supply of surgical face masks. Some common complaints are:
- The masks are made in China, even if they are advertised as made elsewhere. People steer away from face masks made in China due to the fear of being contaminated with the coronavirus.
- The quality is very low. The masks are very thin and lack the special melt-blown fabric that offers protection.
- The masks do not meet the standard of a surgical medical mask.
- The lead times are very high. Sometimes the wait time is as long as two months.
- Very high prices for count and quality.
- Missing pieces from the advertised product count.
- No manufacturer information, poor packaging.
The surgical-style masks, unless they are FDA-approved, are not proper medical-grade masks by US standards. They may meet the official standards in other countries, or they may be plain counterfeits.
Non-Medical Face Masks
What are non-medical face masks? These kinds of masks are also called community masks. They are made up of various forms of self-made, commercial masks, or face covers. Non-medical face masks are made of cloth, other textiles, or other materials such as paper. They are not standardized and are not intended for use by health care professionals or in a healthcare setting.
There are no established standards when it comes to self-made non-medical face masks. One of the advantages of these kinds of masks is that they are made of cloth or other textiles that can be easily made, washed, and reused. There is limited evidence that shows non-medical face masks made from different materials can decrease the release to the environment of respiratory droplets produced by coughing or sneezing.
A laboratory test shows that some homemade masks did a poor job, while others rivaled the filtration of a medical mask. In another study, 21 people made their own masks from t-shirts, and researchers compared the homemade masks to medical masks. According to the authors of the study, “Both masks significantly reduced the number of microorganisms expelled by volunteers,” although surgical masks were better. In community studies, homemade masks were found to offer some protection during viral outbreaks.
What Are Homemade Cloth Face Coverings?
According to the CDC, you can use simple homemade cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus. Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items like cotton fabrics, t-shirts, bandanas, or coffee filters. They can be made at home from common materials at an affordable cost.
The cloth face coverings are not N-95 respirators or surgical masks. Those are for healthcare workers and medical responders.
Cloth Face Coverings – CDC Guidelines
CDC has updated its guidelines and is now recommending people to wear cloth face coverings to help slow down the spread of the virus. Check out the guidelines provided by the CDC below.
- The general public is recommended to wear a cloth face covering to cover the nose and mouth in a public setting. It is to protect the people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms.
- A cloth face covering should be worn when you are in a public setting, especially in situations where you are near people. (Pharmacies and groceries)
- A cloth face covering is NOT A SUBSTITUTE for social distancing. They are worn in areas of widespread Coronavirus illness.
- It is recommended that you still practice the 6 feet social distancing even when wearing a cloth face covering. Aside from that, frequent hand cleaning and everyday preventative actions need to be observed.
- Cloth face coverings can be made from household items or made at home from common materials at an affordable cost.
- Cloth face coverings SHOULD NOT BE PLACED on children younger than two years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, disabled, or otherwise unable to remove the covering without assistance.
Is it Mandatory to Wear Cloth Face Covering? Can You Get Arrested for Not Wearing One?
The CDC issued guidelines that recommend wearing face coverings in a public setting, but it does not mean it is illegal to go outside without one. President Trump emphasized that wearing masks in public is voluntary and said he will not be doing so.
On the other hand, the city of Laredo, Texas issued an ordinance that requires those who are in the area to cover their nose and mouth otherwise, they will have to pay a fine of $1,000.
Make sure you stay up to date and follow the rules of the place where you live.
How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering – CDC Instructions
Make sure that you wear the cloth face-covering properly. Here are the instructions provided by the CDC on how to wear a cloth face covering.
- The cloth face covering should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- It should be secured with ties or ear loops
- The covering should include multiple layers of fabric
- It should allow for breathing without restriction
- The covering should be able to get laundered and machine dried without damage or change to the shape
Can Face Coverings Prevent the Spread of the Virus?
Wearing a mask even if you don’t feel sick can be a good idea. The main benefit of covering your mouth and nose is to protect others. There is still much to be learned about Coronavirus. Still, many people who are infected are transmitting the virus through sneezes, cough, and other respiratory droplets for 48 hours before they start feeling sick. According to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, up to 25% of those who have the virus may never feel symptoms but may still play a role in transmitting it.
According to Dr. Daniel Griffin, an expert on infectious diseases at Columbia University, if you cough or sneeze, the mask will catch the respiratory droplets, so they do not land on other people or surfaces. He said, “So it’s not going to protect you, but it is going to protect your neighbor,” He also added that “If your neighbor is wearing a mask and the same thing happens, they’re going to protect you. So masks worn properly have the potential to benefit people.”
Difference Between Cloth Face Coverings and Surgical Masks
According to the FDA, a surgical mask is a loose-fitting, disposable device that creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants in the environment. They are made in different thicknesses and with different abilities to protect the wearer from contact with liquids. Surgical masks can help block large-particle droplets, sprays, splatter, or splashes that may contain germs, bacteria, and viruses from reaching your nose and mouth. They also help reduce exposure to saliva and respiratory secretions.
On the other hand, cloth face coverings are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. According to the CDC, cloth face coverings are fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials like bandana, scarf, coffee filter, or an old t-shirt. They are low cost but used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
What is the Best Reusable Washable Face Mask?
There is not much research done on cloth or homemade face masks and which one is the best. If you are looking for designs or patterns, you can check out this post that we have written about the best washable reusable face masks. You can purchase reusable masks online or you can also make your own. There are many patterns and tutorials on how to make a reusable face mask. We have also shared tips on how to create your own reusable face mask.
How to Make a Face Mask without Sewing Machine
If you cannot sew, there are a lot of no sewing patterns that you can use as a guide. You can create a mask using a coffee filter, bandana, and rubber bands. A simple way to create a mask would be to tie a thick scarf around your nose and mouth. We have also written an article about how to make a face mask without a sewing machine. Check out the article for patterns and tutorials that you can use.
✅ Video – How to Make Your Own Face Covering (U.S. Surgeon General)
In the video below, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams discusses simple ways on how to make your face mask. You can use materials that you can find at home like scarves, bandanas, and an old t-shirt. He also demonstrates how to make the cloth mask from a piece of old t-shirt and two rubber bands. This simple mask will help in slowing down the spread of Coronavirus.
No matter what you make it out of, see to it that the covering fit closely to your face. Avoid touching the front of the mask once you’ve started wearing it. If you use cloth masks, you can make a number of them so you can wear a fresh one each time you go out.
How to Clean A Cloth Face Covering
Below are the steps on how to clean a cloth face cover according to the Washington State Department of Health.
- Wash your cloth face cover after each use or at least daily with detergent and hot water on a hot cycle.
- If you must re-wear your cloth face covering before washing, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face.
Discard cloth face coverings that:
-No longer cover the nose and mouth
-Have stretched out or damaged ties or straps
-Cannot stay on your face
-Have holes or tears in the fabric
How to Make a Face Mask with Ties
The ties on the mask will make sure that it is secured and will not fall off when you move your head. There are many materials that you can use when making ties which include rubber bands, elastics, hair ties, fabrics, and yarns. It is best to use fabrics if you will sew the ties into the mask. On the other hand, you can also make a no-sew face mask using rubber bands and hair ties. You can check out this article about how to make a face mask with ties for more information about the many materials that you can use. We have also shared sewing patterns for those who know how to sew and no-sew patterns for those who prefer to make an easy no-sew face mask.
How To Make a Face Mask With Rubber Bands
Don’t have sewing skills or you do not have enough time to spare to make a face mask? There are many no-sew patterns and tutorials that you can find online. A quick and easy way to make a face mask is to use a bandana or handkerchief and two pieces of rubber bands. Do you want to know how to it? We have written this article about how to make a face mask with rubber bands. Check out the article for more information and patterns on how to make a face mask using various materials and rubber bands.
How to Make A Face Mask with Hair Ties
If you want to make a no-sew face mask but do not have any rubber bands or elastics, a good alternative would be to use hair ties. Hair ties are stretchable and can do a good job of securing the mask on your face. Using hair ties is quick and easy! Check out the article that we have written about how to make a face mask with hair ties. In the article, we have gathered the different materials that are used to make ties for face masks. We have also shared many tutorials and patterns on how to make face masks with hair ties for every skill level.
What are the Best Elastic for Face Masks?
When making DIY face masks, make sure that it fits and is secured around your face. You can do this by using elastics. There are different kinds of elastics sold online. Most of them are used for sewing projects. Check out this post that tackles the best elastics for face masks. We have rounded up the best products available on the market that you can choose from. In addition, we have shared tutorials, patterns, and videos on how to make face masks with elastics. You can find patterns for sewn and no-sew face masks.
What is the Best Cloth Face Masks?
The best cloth face masks should be comfortable and functional. It should be made from tightly-woven materials like cotton. Moreover, it should be breathable so that the person wearing it will not feel suffocated. You can create a DIY cloth face mask at home using patterns that you can find online. On the other hand, if you are planning to purchase one, we have written this article that tackles the best cloth face masks. In the article, we have shared some guidelines that you can consider when purchasing face masks online. We have also gathered some of the best products that you can choose from.
Activated Carbon Face Masks and Filter Inserts
If you think that a cloth face mask is still not enough to protect you from the virus and you feel like you are at risk while going out in the public, you can purchase activated carbon face masks and filter inserts. The filter inserts of the face mask will serve as an added layer of protection that filters small particles. Check out this article that we have written about activated carbon face masks and filter inserts. We have shared products that you can choose from.
Should I Wear A Mask in Public Even if I Have No Symptoms?
It is not mandatory to wear a cloth mask or face cover in public. However, according to the Washington State Department Health, you can consider it as a voluntary act of compassion. Take note that there are asymptomatic patients or those who are infected with the virus but do not show any symptoms. Wearing cloth face cover in public settings can protect others from a virus that you might be carrying without knowing it.
If I Wear A Mask, Will I Not Get Infected?
There is no guarantee that you will not get infected when you wear a mask. Cloth face coverings are not a replacement for other protective measures. According to the Department of Health, cloth face coverings will not protect you like regular and thorough hand washing can. You also need to avoid touching your face and practice social distancing.
Why Wearing Any Mask is Better Than No Mask At All?
Wearing the mask can prevent an asymptomatic person from transmitting the virus. According to the CDC, as many as 25% of people with Coronavirus may not feel any symptoms, but they can still pass the virus to others. To reduce the spread of the virus, the CDC now recommends the general public to wear homemade masks. Take note that surgical masks are different than homemade masks. Homemade masks are masks made from materials that you can find at home like scarves, bandanas, or other fabrics.
✅ Video – Doctor Weighs in on Coronavirus Face Mask Debate
In the video below, Dr. David Agus talks about the CDC’s guidance and what they have to say about wearing a mask. According to him, wearing the mask can prevent a person who is infected with the virus but does not feel any symptoms from transmitting the virus to another person. He said that the purpose of the mask is to prevent transmission.
What is the Best Material for a Cloth Face Cover?
One of the challenges when it comes to making a cloth face cover is to find a material that is dense enough to capture viral particles but breathable enough to wear it comfortably.
One way to test if a fabric is a good candidate for a mask is to hold it against the light. According to Dr. Scott Segal, chairman of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health who recently studied homemade masks, “If light passes really easily through the fibers and you can almost see the fibers, it’s not a good fabric. If it’s a denser weave of thicker material and light doesn’t pass through it as much, that’s the material you want to use.”
According to Yang Wang, an assistant professor of environmental engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, “You need something efficient for removing particles, but you also need to breathe.”
How Homemade Face Masks Can Help
Homemade face masks are already sold online long before the COVID-19 pandemic. The masks aim to block large particles like dust and used as a shield against pollution and allergens. The following are the ways on how homemade masks can help.
- Might help in protecting others from asymptomatic people who have acquired the virus
- May block large particles released by coughing or sneezing
- It provides peace of mind
- Could encourage mindful behavior which includes avoiding touching one’s nose, eyes, and mouth
Coronavirus Can Stay On a Surgical Mask for 7 Days
A report published by the Lancet states that the virus can stay outside of the face mask for seven days. However, they did not study if a person can get infected with the virus on the mask. According to Malik Peiris, a researcher, “This is exactly why it is essential if you are wearing a surgical mask you don’t touch the outside of the mask. Because you can contaminate your hands, and if you touch your eyes, you could be transferring the virus to your eyes.”
How to Put On, Use, Take Off, and Dispose of a Mask – WHO Guidelines
- Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
- Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
- To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Common Mistakes When Using Face Masks
A lot of people are not wearing the mask properly or are doing things that will compromise the safety that the mask provides. Below are some of the common mistakes that people make when using a face mask, as explained by immunologist, virologist, and face mask expert Dr. Ariane M. Davison.
- Wearing the mask upside down, not covering the chin, wearing only over the nose, or only over the mouth will leave you exposed to the virus. Take note that even the best face mask will not protect you if not worn properly.
- Touching the mask with your fingers will contaminate the mask. The dirt that comes from your hands will transfer to the mask that will leave you vulnerable not only to the virus but to germs and bacteria as well.
- Wearing the mask under the chin and putting the mask back up again.
- Reusing or recycling single-use face masks.
- Wearing the same mask for too long. The mask acts as a filter and also accumulates pathogens without killing them. The longer you wear the mask, the more concentrated the infectious load becomes. Never wear a mask longer than a day.
✅ Video – How to Wear Mask the Right Way
The video below discusses the proper way to wear a mask. Wearing a mask will not offer any protection if you do not know how to wear it properly. Most people do not know the proper way of wearing a face mask, which makes the mask of no use at all. Follow the video below on the proper way to wear a face mask.
Surgical Mask vs. N95 Mask
To understand the differences between the surgical mask and the N95 respirator mask, check out this infographic published by CDC.
Face Mask Culture in Asia vs. the West
At the height of COVID-19, wearing face masks has become the norm in Asia. In China, some provinces and municipalities make face masks compulsory most especially in public areas, and it is recommended when shopping and in student gatherings. In Hong Kong, people are recommended to wear a mask when staying in crowded places or taking public transits.
Wearing face masks is not a common sight in the U.S. Even when there were a few cases of COVID-19, the U.S. health authorities had discouraged healthy Americans from wearing facial masks. The current research about the virus has prompt the CDC to issue guidance on wearing a cloth face cover when going out in public.
However, even before the COVID-19 outbreak, the wearing of masks has been a familiar sight across Asia. It became widespread primarily due to the upcoming issue of smog in recent years. It is also a common practice for people who are ill and who do not want to contaminate the people around them to wear face masks.
Not only people wear them often, but they became a fashion statement in some Asian countries and among some demographics. For example, in Japan, people wear masks for non-medical reasons. Masks in Japan come in cloth and printed variations, and worn for style. There are many people wearing masks in the streets of Hong Kong and Korea as well.
✅ Video – Coronavirus: Face Mask Culture Clash?
Wearing face masks is commonplace in a lot of Asian countries. However, it’s a different story for the U.S. and Europe. In the video below, people who have lived in Asia and are now residing in the U.S. and Europe share their experiences in wearing a mask. According to them, wearing masks is a natural thing in the country they came from, but westerners view the wearing of face masks differently. For Asians, wearing of face mask will protect the wearer and the people around them from being infected with the disease. However, in western counties, people who are wearing masks are thought to cause panic. Check out the video to find out more about the topic.
Face Mask Shortage in the U.S.
The CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that COVID-19 will likely spread throughout the U.S. It caused panic and fear in many people, especially because the virus is new, and there is no cure for it. The virus is transmissible through human contact and exposure to respiratory droplets that come from an infected person. In the hope of protecting themselves from getting infected, people have started to wear a face mask.
Even with the warning from high-ranking officials that the mask can increase the spread of Coronavirus, people are still buying face masks. The demand for face masks causes the supply to dry out, which results in to face mask shortage.
An article from U.S. News reported that pharmacies and online retailers have been running out of face masks. Walgreen’s and CVS stores across Knoxville have reported a shortage of face masks and gloves. The National Community Pharmacists Association also said that nearly 63% of U.S. pharmacists have had customers buying surgical masks as a precaution against Coronavirus. Almost 96% of U.S. pharmacists noted that the demand has led to shortages as retailers wait to restock their shelves.
Face masks suppliers are also experiencing dwindling stocks. Dealmed, an independent medical supplier of masks, gloves, and other protective equipment for hospitals based in the Northeast, has seen high demands for masks since the Coronavirus outbreak. The company said that it hasn’t received any new supplies and that the Chinese factories that usually make them haven’t shipped new stocks in two months.
What Is Being Done to Ramp Up the Production of Medical Face Masks?
On March 19, Vice President Mike Pence said that the new legislation would ramp up mask production and promises tens of millions more to reach health care workers each month starting immediately. On the other hand, it is not clear when the mandated supplies will actually reach health care providers. According to Bloomberg Law, it could take over 18 months for the White House order of 500 million respirators to be fully shipped if manufactured in China.
According to the New York Times, China made half of the world’s masks before the Coronavirus outbreak. While factory production has increased nearly twelvefold, the country has kept most of its inventory as it also sought to control the virus. U.S. mask manufacturers are also dealing with the high demand for face masks. Prestige Ameritech, which is the country’s biggest producer, aims to make 1 million masks a day as compared to an average of 250,000 before the pandemic.
People and organizations are also donating masks. The production teams behind some TV medical dramas like The Resident, The Good Doctor, and Grey’s Anatomy have donated boxes of gloves, gowns, and masks to local hospitals. According to Buzzfeed News, people are also using grassroots organizing tactics to find and distribute unused protective supplies to local facilities. Moreover, Americans are also receiving aid from abroad, most notably from Taiwan, which pledges to donate 100,000 masks a week. Chinese billionaire Jack Ma also donated 1 million masks and 500,000 test kits.
Why Are Medical Face Masks Hard to Make?
To supply the increasing demand for face masks, manufacturers are doubling or even tripling their production daily. On the other hand, making masks are not as easy as you imagine. According to Guan Xunze, chairman of the pharmaceutical group Shengjingtong in northeastern China, “We have to make the ear loops and the metal strip, the packaging. There is a pretty big system involved.”
The masks for medical personnel and consumers need a once-obscure material called melt-blown fabric. It is an excellent mesh of synthetic polymer gibers that forms the critical inner filtration of the mask and allows the wearer to breathe while reducing the inflow of possible infectious particles. The problem is that there is now a global shortage of melt-blown fabric because of the increased demand for face masks.
The machine that creates the fabric melts down plastic material and blows it out in strands into flat sheets of melt-blown fabrics for face masks and other filtration products. However, the machines are not easy to make because of the exacting precision required. According to Leo Liu, a sales director at Haigong Machinery, a Chinese company that assembles the machine parts for melt-blown lines imported from the US, Germany, and Japan, “We need about six months to make the machines, and it takes another month to assemble them.”
✅ Video – Automatic Surgical Mask Machine, Face Mask Production Line
The video below shows how to make surgical masks with the use of machines. Manufacturing companies are doing their best to produce as many face masks as they can in a day to provide the increasing demand. Watch the video below for a glimpse of how to make ear-loop surgical masks.
What are the Best Fabrics and Materials For Antiviral Face Masks?
There are many fabrics and materials that are used for homemade antiviral face masks. The vacuum cleaner bag, dish towel, cotton blend t-shirt, 100% cotton t-shirt, pillowcase, silk, linen, and scarves are some of the best materials that you can use when making DIY antiviral face masks. The best fabrics and materials should be dense enough to capture viral particles, but breathable enough so that you can wear them comfortably. Check out this post about the best fabrics and materials for antiviral face masks and find out what factors to consider when choosing a material.
Free Face Mask Tutorials And Patterns
If you are making DIY masks, we have written this article about free face mask tutorials and patterns that you can refer to. In the article, we have gathered a list of 21 free tutorials and patterns that you can follow. We have shared tutorials for all skill levels. You do not have to worry if you do not know how to sew because we have provided non-sew face mask tutorials and patterns that you can make. Check out the article for more details.
How to Make a Face Mask with Paper Towel
If you want a face mask that is fast and easy to do, you can use a paper towel. Paper towels are a common item that you can find at home which you can use for a DIY face mask. It is not as effective as compared to other materials like cloths and fabric, but a paper towel face mask is better than no face mask at all. We have written an article that tackles how to make a face mask with paper towels. Check out the article for helpful tutorials and patterns that you can use.
How to Make a Pleated Face Mask
The pleats in the face mask make it easier to adjust around your face. We have also written this article that tackles how to make a pleated face mask. In the article, we have shared tutorials and patterns that you can use if you want to make a pleated face mask. Moreover, we have also shared a template that you can use when pleating the maks. Templates make pleating easier and faster.
How to Make a Face Mask with Elastic
Elastic is a common material used when making earloops for face masks. They are easy to find and you can also compare from a wide array of products that are available on the market. If you are planning to make a face mask, you can check out this article that tackles how to make a face mask with elastic. We have shared different ways to use elastics for a face mask. Moreover, we have gathered tutorials that you can follow.
Is Polyester Good For a Face Mask?
Polyester is a synthetic material that is durable and lightweight. Moreover, it is water repellent so moisture on the skin will not absorb into the fabric. Is it a good material for a face mask? Check out the article that we have written about polyester and if it is a good material for a face mask. We have shared information about the topic from credible sources. Moreover, we have also provided some alternatives that you can use when making homemade face masks.
How to Sterilize a Face Mask
Proper cleaning and sterilizing of face masks are vital to prevent the spread of the virus. There are different methods that you can use. The simplest way would be to use a washing machine or hand washing. You can also boil the face mask to make sure that viruses are eliminated. On the other hand, you need to consider the type of face mask before sterilizing them. Otherwise, you will end up damaging the material of the mask. Check out this article that tackles how to sterilize a face mask for an in-depth discussion about the topic.
Sterilize Face Mask in Microwave
Is it safe to sterilize a face mask in a microwave? Is there any proof that sterilizing a mask in a microwave can kill Coronavirus? A lot of people are sharing their experience in microwaving a face mask. However, this can be dangerous because a face mask is made of materials that can easily catch fire. As a matter of fact, fire departments from all across the country warned people of using a microwave to sterilize a mask. Check out this article that tackles sterilize a face mask in a microwave for an in-depth discussion.
Face Mask Extenders (Straps)
Face mask extenders (straps) relieves pain and discomfort from wearing the face mask for too long. health workers and front-liners who are wearing the face mask for many hours often feel discomfort behind their ears where the elastic is tucked. To avoid this, one can wear face mask extenders. Check out this article about face mask extenders (straps) for more information about the topic. We have also shared a list of the best products that you can choose from.
How to Make a Face Mask without Elastic
If you are planning to make a face mask but you do not have any elastic, there are alternatives that you can use. A good option would be rubber bands because they are stretchable and can be used for making a no-sew face mask. On the other hand, you can also sew fabric strips to make face mask ties. Check out this article on how to make a face mask without elastic for a list of alternatives that you can use.
Surgical Face Masks for Kids
Both children and adults are vulnerable to the virus that is why it is recommended that children should also wear face masks when going out in a public setting. There are surgical face masks that are specifically made for kids. They are of smaller sizes. If in case you cannot find one on the market, you can also make a face mask using fabrics and cloths. There are many patterns that you can follow online.
✅ Video – How to Make Kids Surgical Face Mask at Home
The video below is shared by Mamma Art on YouTube. She tackles how to make a kid’s surgical face mask at home. You will need some sewing skills in making this particular mask. She demonstrates how to do the pleating, how to create the ties using fabric, and how to attach it into the mask. Check out the video below for the tutorial.
Black Washable Face Masks
If you search online, you can find a lot of black washable face masks for sale. It is among the most in-demand face mask on the market. The color black is preferred by many when choosing a face mask. These masks are mostly made of cloth and are reusable. Check out this article about the best black washable face masks for more information about the topic. We have gathered a list of the products that you can choose from.
Free Bandana Face Mask Patterns and Tutorials
A bandana face mask is quick and easy to make. You can make a face mask using a bandana and rubber bands. If you do not have rubber bands, you can also use elastics or hair ties. You can also insert filters into the layers of the bandana for an added layer of protection. Check out this article about bandana face mask patterns and tutorials that we have written. We have shared different methods of creating a face mask with a bandana. Moreover, we have provided a list of filters that you can use.
Neoprene Face Masks
There are many kinds of face masks that you can purchase on the market. You can also have the option of making your own. Neoprene face masks are usually for sports activities but because of the shortage in face masks, people are using them when going out in a public setting. The masks are waterproof and elastic which makes it a great material for a face mask. Check out this article that we have written about neoprene face masks to find out more about the material. We have also gathered a list of products that you can choose from.
Guide to Coffee Filter Face Masks
One of the materials used in making a face mask is a coffee filter. It can be made as a face mask or used as a filter insert. Is coffee filter ideal for face masks? How effective are they when filtering germs and viruses? Check out this guide to coffee filter face masks for tips and information about the topic. We have also included tutorials on how to make face masks with coffee filter.
Nose Bridge Wires for Face Masks
To make sure that the mask fits perfectly on your face, you can use nose bridge wires for face masks. These kinds of wires will seal the gap at the nose bridge area. If the face mask is not properly sealed, small air particles can still get inside the mask. If you are wearing glasses, the breath that you exhale can get through the gap and cause the glass to fog. You can check out this article that tackles the best nose bridge wires for face masks. We have shared a list of the best products that you can choose from. Moreover, we have also discussed the importance of using nose bridge wires for face masks.
Adjustable Face Masks
Make sure that the mask fits perfectly into your face with proper adjustment. Adjustable face masks come with various designs like velcro, ties, buttons with holes, and extenders. The masks also have nose bridge wires so that there will be no gaps in the nose area where air particles can go through. We have also written this article that tackles the best adjustable face masks. Check out the article for tips and information.
Face Mask for Sale
If you look online, you can find a wide array of face masks that are available. You can choose a surgical/antiviral mask, face masks with respirators, masks with pockets for filter inserts, and cloth face masks. Due to the shortage of medical masks, the general public is recommended to use cloth face masks. It is best to leave medical face masks for health providers who need them the most.
Retrofitting Production Lines Across the World to Produce Medical Face Masks
To produce face masks, institutions, and companies across the world have retooled their operations to produce face masks. In Germany, masks are made by Zettl Automotive, a car supplier that usually makes seat covers for BMWs and Porches. Fashion companies like Prada in Italy and Spain are also making face masks. Moreover, a producer of boxer shorts and panties called Styx in the Czech Republic has also switched gears for the meantime and help produce face masks.
A group of textile manufacturers led by Parkdale Mills, which is a Gastonia-based yarn company, is planning to produce up to ten million face masks for hospitals and health care providers. The group says that they will ramp up the production over the next five to six weeks.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announces that it will produce masks at one of its factories to help frontline medical professionals in North America. It plans to produce around a million masks per month. According to FCA CEO Mike Manley, “We canvassed our contacts across the healthcare industry, and it was evident that there is an urgent and critical need for face masks. We’ve marshaled the resources of the FCA Group to focus immediately on installing production capacity for making masks and supporting those most in need on the front line of this pandemic.”
Health Care Workers Are Running Out of Face Masks
Healthcare workers are the front liners in the fight against COVID-19, and they are required to wear face masks to protect themselves from being infected and to stop the spread of the disease. Through close contact with the patients during assessment and examination, health workers have a higher potential to be frequently exposed to the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested using homemade masks like scarves or bandanas as a last resort in setting where face masks are not available. As the pandemic started to spread in the U.S., the public health officials warned about the strain that can happen to the supply chain for masks and other equipment. Hoarding masks and respirators contributed to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers.
As a result, hospitals across the U.S. are running out of supplies and medical professionals and urging the public to donate whatever they have stocked to local health facilities. Health workers are alarmed by the risk that the lack of PPE can bring to them and their patients.
✅ Tweet – Face Mask Donation
Below is a tweet about the lack of protective equipment and masks. It urged the public to donate masks for the health workers who are dealing with a high volume of infected patients.
Message from close friend/doctor in NYC hospital:
NYC hospitals and, in particular, many H+H hospitals are facing 1) protective equipment/mask shortages and 2) overwhelming patient volume.
Read the below — if you have masks to donate, dm me, I will connect you.
THANKS + SHARE pic.twitter.com/3NvnWWX99e
— LaurenGoldenberg (@LaurenGolden__) March 20, 2020
Homemade Face Masks
With the low supply and urgent need of face masks, many people have begun using their own from various materials like antimicrobial pillowcases and scarves. These kinds of masks offer some degree of protection but they offer a lot of protection as compared to surgical masks.
According to a study, homemade masks maybe half as effective as surgical masks. Another study shows that compared to homemade masks, surgical masks performed three times better in bacterial filtration tests and twice at blocking droplets during a cough test. According to the CDC, homemade face masks can be used as a last resort in settings where face masks are not available.
How People Volunteer to Make Masks for the Medical Field
The high demand for face masks urged volunteers to form a sewing group wherein they will share patterns that will best address the needs of medical workers. They create masks and donate them to hospitals that need more supplies. Some hospitals say that their suppliers are not filling regular orders, and they are bracing for the worst.
St. Luke’s University Health and Network announced that it currently has enough stock of necessary items but want to prepare for potential shortages in the future. They are asking the community for donations of personal protective equipment and other supplies like fabrics and elastics to make its masks. A lot of people have sprung into action and used fabrics and their sewing machines to sew masks.
✅ Video – How to Make a Face Mask
Below is a video tutorial posted by JOAN Fabrics and Craft Stores on how to make a face mask. The retailer encouraged people to help support medical personnel by sewing non-surgical protective face masks and donating them to hospitals and medical clinics. Fabrics like cotton and flannel used in creating the mask. For step-by-step instruction, you can watch the video below.
Will Hospitals Accept Homemade Masks?
It depends on the hospital but because of the shortage, more are starting to accept homemade face masks. The students at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health which includes a number of SoCal hospitals have created a list of U.S. facilities that accept donations. The list includes specifics regarding patterns, quantity, and delivery instructions, and more.
According to an article posted by the LAist, Dr. Stephanie Hall, the chief medical officer at Keck Hospital of USC said “Go ahead and do it. Later down the road, it’ll be ready to go. And if we need to use it, we’ll use it.”
The CDC has issued guidance on the use of homemade masks saying that they should be used as a last resort and ideally used under a plastic face shield to prevent contamination.
✅ Video – How to make a face mask for doctors, nurses and health care workers – COVID-19 – Deaconess Hospital
Below is an instructional video posted by the Deaconess Health system on making face masks for health care workers. They stated on their website that while fabric masks are not to be used in the care of COVID-19 patients, fabric masks are a crisis response option when other supplies have been exhausted. According to Dawn Rogers, MSN, RN, FNP-C, Patient Safety & Infection Prevention Office, “We will be able to sterilize these masks and use them repeatedly as needed. While it’s less than ideal, we want to do our best to protect our staff and patients during this pandemic.” They also included instructions on how to deliver the masks for their staff.
Who Is the Main Supplier of Face Masks Worldwide?
Face masks are manufactured all across the globe. China is the main supplier of face masks. Many manufacturers have factories that create face masks in China. The Medicom, which is a Canadian manufacturer, has three factories in China. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 95 percent of surgical masks and 70 percent of respirators used in the U.S. are made overseas, and China is among the biggest producers.
Made in the USA Face Masks
There are also manufacturers within the U.S. that produce face masks. The following are some of the manufacturers of surgical masks approved by the Center for Disease Control or CDC. For a full list of manufacturers, you can visit their website.
- 3M Company
- Aero Pro Company, LTD
- Alpha Pro Tech
- Ammex Corporation
- Cardinal Health
- Kimberly-Clark Corporation
- Prestige Ameritech
- Pyramex Safety Products
What is Coronavirus?
The Coronavirus is also known as the COVID-19 or Wuhan Coronavirus, named after Wuhan City, China, where the virus originates. It is called a novel coronavirus (nCov) because it is the first time that this strain of the virus seen in humans. This type of virus belongs to the family of Coronaviruses (CoV). Coronaviruses are commonly found in different species of animals like cattle, bats, cats, and camels.
The COVID-19 is a contagious virus that causes respiratory infection and can spread from person to person. Genetic sequences of the virus have been compared to other existing viruses, and results have shown similarities to SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. Those infected with coronaviruses suffer from a severe inflammatory response, which can lead to other complications.
✅ Video – Coronavirus Q&A
The vide. The discussion includes the symptoms that one can experience after being exposed to the virus. Tips for prevention are also tackled. Coronavirus is a new kind of virus. The dangerous thing about this new strain of the virus is that there is no vaccine or drugs that can cure it yet. Get informed about this new type of virus! Click the play button for more information about Coronavirus.
Is Coronavirus a Pandemic?
The World Health Organization has declared the novel Coronavirus a pandemic.
✅ Video – WHO Declares COVID-19 a Pandemic
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, declared the spread of the novel Coronavirus a global pandemic as of March 11, 2019. The virus has spread to all continents except Antarctica, but there are still countries unaffected. He urges that the situation can be further under control by applying the same measures in place.
What Are the Basic Protective Measures Against Coronavirus?
Some people who have become infected with the virus have experienced mild illness and have fully recovered while others are not that lucky. Make sure that you arm yourself with knowledge about the virus and how to protect yourself against it. Below are the basic protective measures against Coronavirus according to WHO.
Maintain Social Distancing
If you out in a public place, make sure that you maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is sneezing or coughing. The reason for this is that you can breathe in the small droplets from the nose and mouth of someone who sneezes or coughs, which may contain the virus.
Wash Your Hands Frequently
Make it a habit to clean your hands with alcohol-based sanitizers or wash them with soap and water. Washing your hands will kill the virus and will prevent you from being infected.
Practice Respiratory Hygiene
Practice respiratory hygiene, which means covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or your bent elbow when you sneeze. Dispose of the used tissue immediately. It will protect you and the people around you from catching viruses from colds and Coronavirus.
Seek Medical Care Early
Avoid mingling with crowds when you have fever, cough, or having difficulty breathing. Immediately seek medical attention from your local health authority. It will protect you and prevent the spread of viruses.
✅ Video – How Is Coronavirus Affecting People (WHO)
The video below discusses how Coronavirus affects people. As we all know, Coronavirus is a new virus, and research is still ongoing to find out more about what it is. For now, the virus is known to make some people a little sick with flu-like symptoms, while others can feel much worse with the difficulty of breathing that can lead to pneumonia. Check out the video for more information and to find out who is more prone to the virus.
You can also check out this article about wrist and fingertip oximeters. It is used to measure the SpO2 and pulse level of a patient. Many patients with severe cases of COVID-19 have deficient levels of oxygen in the blood. Moreover, others who have tested positive are experiencing shortness of breath. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why people are interested in buying and using pulse oximeters.
Thank you for reading this post that tackles antiviral face masks. We hope that we have shared information that has enlightened you about what Coronavirus is and why you should wear antiviral face masks to prevent exposure to the virus. Make sure that you are taking the necessary prevention, especially when you are living in an area where there is a known case of the COVID-19.