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Protect yourself with home-made face masks

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This time last year, it was unusual to see anyone outside using face-masks when moving around. No thanks to Coronavirus, face-masks have become a necessity and are set to become a compulsory item for every Nigerian that intends to move around in public.

Basically, there are three types of facemasks for Covid-19 prevention: homemade cloth facemasks, which are very popular now, surgical masks and the N95 respirator. A lot of Nigerians are already using home-made masks made mainly from the Ankara fabric when surgical masks became very expensive. A lot of people are even taking it a step further by blinging out their facemasks with stones and other precious gems.

Home made facemasks are very easy to make and, in fact, many designers and tailors are steadily churning out this essential item in their thousands daily and the best part is that they are very affordable and re-usable. It is, however, important to note that you must wash the cloth mask after every use. You cannot re-use it the following day again without washing properly. Also, when removing it, be careful not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth and wash your hands with soap and water after removing it to prevent infecting yourself.

Benefits of home-made face masks are that they can be made at home from common materials so there’s an unlimited supply. Also, they may help lower the risk of people without symptoms transmitting the virus through speaking, coughing or sneezing. Finally, they are better than not using any mask and offer some degree of protection especially where social distancing is hard to maintain.

However, while they may offer some degree of protection, they are not as protective as surgical or N95 masks and you mustn’t neglect other protective measures like washing your hands regularly with soap and water and practicing social distancing. There are some facemasks trending on social media made of net and beads and while they may look eye-catching, they offer no single degree of protection at all. You would do well to avoid them and rather go for masks made with cotton fabric.

Surgical masks are disposable, loose-fitting facemasks that cover the nose, mouth and chin and protect the wearer from droplets and prevent the spread of the coronavirus from the wearer to others. These types of masks as well as N95 masks are typically used by health workers and Nigerians have been urged not to use them if they are not sick or caring for a sick person so that health workers can have access to them.

While using our home made masks, for its use to be effective, you must take note of the following factors:
. Inspect the mask for any holes or tears to make sure that it’s intact.
. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 70% alcohol before putting on the mask.
. Cover your nose and mouth with the mask and make sure no gaps exist between it and your face.
. Avoid touching the mask while using it. Touching the front of your mask, which is exposed to the environment, can defeat the purpose of using it.
. If you do touch your mask, wash or sanitize your hands immediately.
. When your mask gets damp, replace it.
. Do not reuse these single-use masks.
. Remove your mask from behind rather than touching the front of the mask.
. Discard the used mask immediately in a closed trash bin and clean your hands again after removing it.


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