The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a lack of personal protective equipment availability. Most of this equipment is not manufactured in the United States, adding to the difficulty in replenishing essential supplies. Some American manufacturers have converted their equipment in order to manufacture new personal protective equipment or sterilize supplies for reuse. You might be surprised to learn that your family can also support healthcare workers with face masks.

Prevent Asymptomatic Carriers from Infecting Others

Some people may get infected with COVID-19, but they might not display any symptoms. Even so, they could shed virus when they speak, cough or sneeze. Asymptomatic carriers are thought to be a major source of the spread of COVID-19. If you are able to create face masks and give them to others, you can help flatten the curve of COVID-19’s spread. With a flatter curve, healthcare workers have a better chance of keeping up with the demand for medical services from people infected with COVID-19.

Protect Others When Out in Public

There will be times when you have to go out in public. You may need to purchase groceries or an item to repair your home or your car. When you go out, public health experts recommend that you wear a face mask. In places with widespread community transmission of COVID-19, wearing the mask could reduce the number of people who become newly infected. Wearing maks reduces the burden on healthcare workers.

Lower the Demand for Medical-grade Masks

Medical-grade masks, such as N95 respirator masks, are in high demand and very low supply. Healthcare providers need these masks when providing care to people who are or might be infected with COVID-19. When a healthcare provider is providing care to people who test negative for COVID-19 or are unlikely to have the illness, they could use a different type of mask. Using other types of masks, such as a Body Helix face mask, ensures that the N95 respirator masks are available for protecting healthcare workers during risky procedures, such as taking a nasal swab for testing a patient for COVID-19. Healthcare providers could wear these non-medical-grade masks when completing paperwork, working at a computer, or other non-contact activities.

Provide Masks to Family Members of Healthcare Workers

According to the Military Health System, healthcare workers need to wear masks when they go out into the community. For example, healthcare workers may need to pick up a prescription, visit the grocery store or go to the gas station. Healthcare workers may also want to go outside for a walk with their dog or go on a jog for exercise . When they do these activities, guidelines strongly recommend or even require that they wear a mask. Families could make masks for healthcare workers to wear off-the-job. Those masks could be sewn with several layers of fabric. A filter could also be stitched into the layers of fabric. There are many free patterns available for sewing these masks. There are also mask patterns that do not require a sewing machine. Those can be made from scarves, tee shirts or bandanas and elastic hair ties, ribbon or elastic bands.

Create Masks for Healthcare Workers to Wear at Home

Many healthcare workers are worried about bringing COVID-19 home and infecting their family members. Some healthcare workers are even isolating themselves by confining themselves to just one room in their home or even staying in the garage or a tent in their backyard. If a healthcare worker has a supply of clean masks to wear at home, they could lower their risk of spreading COVID-19 to their household members. Although non-medical grade masks are not as good as N95 respirators at preventing the spread of COVID-19, they do help. They can also provide the healthcare worker with peace of mind. You can make these masks with fabric or old clothing you already have, or you could order supplies online to make and donate these masks.

While you are at home with your family under quarantine orders, you can stay productive and serve others. Making masks and donating them to healthcare workers could be a family service project that brings you together. Providing the front-line workers with face masks provides you with an opportunity to serve others while also adhering to social distancing guidelines.

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