As the world continues to navigate the best path to reducing the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been regularly updating its recommendations. Previously, the CDC said it was not necessary for people to wear a face mask to cover their nose and mouth when out in public and now they recommend wearing one, in addition to practising social distancing.
In light of new evidence that shows asymptomatic carriers may still be able to spread coronavirus without knowing they have it, the "CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission." While there is currently little to no evidence that cloth masks do much to protect the wearer against exposure to someone else's germs, the "CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure."
Many people with sewing skills have started making masks for themselves, family, friends, and essential workers using a number of patterns that have popped up online, including on the CDC's own website. But for those who don't sew and don't know someone who does, there are several tutorials on social media that share how to turn a bandana — the CDC recommends "tightly woven cotton" — into a face mask with some folding and the clever use of hair ties to keep it secured behind the ears. The tutorial on the CDC's website also advises folding a coffee filter into the centre of the folded bandana for additional effectiveness.
Check out this how-to from hairstylist Bridget Brager:
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Over here making masks 😷 I actually sent this to my mom in AZ because she can’t find masks anywhere. Never have I ever appreciated a bandana and scrunchies more! Hope everyone stays protected! 💛 #covid19 #diy #hairstylist #scrunchies #bandanna #prevention #everylittlebithelps Health care professionals suggest: Wash hands before touching and/or putting mask on. Once mask is on, do not touch, adjust or play with mask. Take off and wash hands immediately. Wash bandanna after use. 🙌🏻😷
A post shared by 🌵☀️Bridget Brager☀️🌵 (@bridgetbragerhair) on
If you don't have a bandana or a similarly sized scarf and you'd prefer not to cut up a shirt or dress into the recommended 20 inches by 20 inches, you will find that quite a few online retailers have some fantastic woven-cotton bandanas currently available. We've rounded up a few of our favourites that you can use for the no-sew/hair-elastics method to create a face mask that helps you do your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while still embracing your personal style — because it's okay to seek out normality and joy even (and especially) in strange and stressful situations.
Note: The CDC emphasizes that surgical masks or N-95 respirators should not currently be used by the general public. "Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance," the website states. Additionally, according to NPR, as of April 4 during a briefing of the coronavirus task force, the White House urged people to take into consideration the importance of the next two weeks and stay at home as much as possible, including foregoing trips to the grocery store. These masks are protective measures for others during any essential runs when you absolutely have to leave the house, rather than excuses to go outside.
"The next two weeks are extraordinarily important," said Dr Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator. "This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe and that means everybody doing the six-feet distancing, washing their hands."
This article originally appeared on allure.