Doctor explains how to make the safest at-home face mask

July 28th, 2020

Through isolation, many of us have discovered or taken back up new hobbies to make the time indoors go a little quicker or to even help those in need. In these times, many are struggling to get by on groceries and even many hospitals and physicians are running out of supplies. So those of us who have supplies, finances, and time to do what we can to help have started donating their money and time to whatever is needed. One of those being making DIY face masks to donate.

Source: Photo by Edward Jenner from Pexels

One doctor by the name of Ryan Southworth saw the efforts going out and realized there was a need to explain and demonstrate a way to make the safest masks possible. So he and his wife Amy took to youtube to explain and demonstrate how to make the safest face mask. In the youtube video, they show what materials to use, explain why and even how by making this face mask at home can help save lives.

Dr. Ryan Southworth is a board-certified doctor, as well as, an emergency medicine physician and emergency medical services director who saw a lot of people at home making homemade cotton masks just in case the doctors’ mask were to run out. In the intro of his video, he informs the viewers that in fact hospital’s emergency rooms and medical staff are operating on very short supply and the virus hasn’t even hit all of the communities yet. In addition, he informs that as nice as the cotton is it is unfortunately not designed to be a filter for the virus and can penetrate through the tiny holes in the fabric.

Dr. Southworth and his wife Amy’s recommendation is to take a HEPA filter vacuum bag that is OSHA certified material which filters out 99.97% of airborne particulate matter to create the safest face masks to donate physicians and hospitals in need.

S0urce: Youtube

Dr. Southworth even tested the mask out himself by wearing it around his house for a prolonged period of time and even cooked bacon to see if he could clearly smell it and states he could not. So he gives his word on both the type of material, as well as, the seal this mask provides.

S0urce: Youtube

So in order to make these masks, you will need the following,

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Elastic
  • Hoover HEPA vacuum bag
    • they use type Y
  • Thread
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • Pencil or marker
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Printout of mask template
S0urce: Youtube

However, before you start the process of making your own mask Dr. Southworth requests:

  • Ensure no one in your home has or has been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Wash your hand throughout with soap and water for at least 2o seconds.
  • Be sure to use the first mask you make as both a test of quality and to ensure that you do not breathe on any of the other masks you produce.
  • Transport all masks in a contained and sanitary manner (ziplock bag).
S0urce: Youtube

To begin start by measuring your elastic band along the line of the mask pattern sheet provided by Amy and Dr. Southworth. The elastic length should be 11″ or longer than the side length of the paper. If the elastic is the same width as in the video they suggest cutting the elastic in half long ways to use as straps. Then cut out the tracing of the regular mask.

S0urce: Youtube

Once you’ve completed those steps take the vacuum bag and expand the sides carefully. Again Amy suggests to very delicately cut the sides out of each side and not the vacuum seal at the top. Then lay the bag flat on the table and you should be able to trace four masks on the bag.

S0urce: Youtube

Amy also notes that there is an extra layer of plastic inside the vacuum bag that you will have to cut out since it has nothing to do with the filter.

S0urce: Youtube

After that, lay the cut out flat on the table and lift up the layers until there is one layer facing you. Then take one of the pipe cleaners and fold it in half and lay it down but make sure to leave room to sew it shut later. Apply the hot glue to one side of the pipe cleaner only and let it cool a little. Note that if the glue is too hot it will burn through the plastic. Once the hot glue is cooled a little attach the cleaner to the mask.

S0urce: Youtube

Take time to measure and line up the cut elastic pieces that will attach to the top and bottom of the mask.

S0urce: Youtube

Then it is time to stitch the mask closed. Taking time in this next and final step to be sure to not puncture any holes in the mask. Stitch along the sides of the mask and the elastic to the mask. Once those steps are complete make sure the fabrics line up when the mask is folded. Amy suggests that once you have the first stitch done flip over the mask and make a stitch closer to the edges and sides. Then the mask is complete!

S0urce: Youtube

We appreciate the time Dr. Ryan Southworth and Amy have done to show the rest of us how to make the safest mask possible in order to help the communities in our local area. Although we may not be able to be close to one another in this time we can still do things such as this to help one another get by until we are through the pandemic and can be reunited once again.

Click the listed links below to find the directions for making the masks, as well as, the mask patterns.

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Source: Youtube, Pexels