MAKE A MASK! 

... BECAUSE PLAN A ISN'T ALWAYS AN OPTION TO US

Homemade cloth masks aren't ideal, but given the present shortages of medical-grade protective gear in the midst of a pandemic, they may be the best and only option for some of us. And if there is something we have learn't in Zimbabwe it is that we continuously have to have plan B, C, D and so on, so here we go with plan B.

In the past, infectious disease experts questioned the value of homemade cloth masks as a defense against viruses like the flu. But now those same experts are urging medical professionals who only have access to limited protective equipment to use homemade cloth masks if they have absolutely no other option. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that health care providers with absolutely no other option use a bandana or scarf when treating patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. However,this should ideally be paired with a face shield, and even then, the impact on disease reduction is unknown. 

It is important to stress, however, that the wearing of face masks will only offer limited protection and should not be considered sufficient protection. Additional preventative measures need to be adopted. These are detailed below:

1) Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and who have fever and cough.

2) Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible and disposing of it promptly.

3) It is also important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people and cleaning hard surfaces like door handles frequently using a normal cleaning product.

4) If caring for someone with a flu-like illness, a mask may be worn to cover the nose and mouth to reduce the risk of transmission.

The full instructions for making homemade masks are available here

with the template referenced in the instructions available here.

You must read all instructions before beginning.

IMPORTANT: Remember to always wear your face mask in the same orientation, i.e., you should always have the same side facing outward (the contaminated side). Different colours used should help with this. Face masks should be machine-washed frequently to eliminate any residual flu particles, which may be contaminating the outside of the mask. Remove your mask by taking the straps from the back of your head and pull forward — do not touch the material part of the mask. If you do, please remember to wash your hands with soap and water before and after you touch your mask.

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