After the World Health Organisation (WHO) initially stated there was no science to support the theory that facemasks help reduce the spread of Covid-19, the Irish Government has spent weeks deliberating.
Health organisations and medical experts are now strongly advocating for facemasks as new research emerges.
Professor Luke O’Neill, immunologist at Trinity College Dublin, believes wearing home-made cotton masks can help reduce the rate of transmission “by up to 90pc”.
George Gao, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said one of the reasons the disease spread so rapidly is because not enough people were wearing masks at the beginning.
More than 30 countries have now made it mandatory to wear face masks in public, but a shortage of supply worldwide has prevented some officials from telling people to go out and buy them.
As our own Government will now advise people to wear homemade face coverings, in a bid to help protect the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline workers, the Irish Independent put together a quick guide on how to make your own.
And for those who haven’t mastered the art of sewing, fear not, there are alternative options to the method outlined in the tutorial below.
Homemade masks can be made in under 10 minutes and only a few household materials are needed.
Plain cotton t-shirt fabric has proven popular and has been recommended by experts.
“The more layers you have, the better,” said Professor O’Neill.
The graphic shows a useful method to make a mask involving a scissors, cotton fabric, elastic ribbons and sewing supplies.
But Professor O’Neill also demonstrated a method that doesn’t require you to sew. “All you need is a cotton fabric, a stapler and two elastic bands.
“Once it covers your mouth and nose, it will protect you from spreading it to other people,” he said.
“You need a good length of material, then you fold over your piece of cotton to create two layers. Simply put an elastic band around each end, fold over the edges and staple together.
“The most important thing is to make sure you wash your hands before you put it on and again when you take it off after returning from the shop.”
While it won’t be mandatory for Irish people to wear masks in public, the Government is urging people to wear face coverings on public transport and in supermarkets.
Dr Eoin Feeney, consultant in infectious diseases at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin, said it is vital people wear the masks properly.
“Sometimes the masks can give people a false sense of security and you see people wearing them badly, partly falling down or not covering their nose and mouth,” he said.
“You must avoid touching your face while wearing one and wash your hands.”
Follow these six simple steps to make your own protective face mask:
Scissors, cotton fabric (breathable and tightly woven), elastic cord (two lengths approximately 20cm each) and sewing supplies.
Using the pattern (download here, print on A4 paper and trace) cut four identical pieces of fabric..
Lay two pieces of fabric on top of each other and sew the curved side together, creating the front of the mask. Then repeat the process to create the back of the mask.
Place one side of the mask on a table, seam side down. Lay the elastic cord in two loops as shown. Sew the ends of the loops to the edges of the mask, leaving a few millimetres protruding over the edge of the mask.
Place the other side of the mask on top, seam side up, sandwiching the elastic loops. Sew the two sides of the mask together around the edges, leaving the area on one side of the mask unsewn.
Turn the mask inside-out by putting your fingers through the unsewn gap and pulling the two elastic loops through the opening.
After the mask is reversed, sew the remaining gap closed and you’re done.