- The fabric face mask should cover your nose, mouth and chin
- It should be made up of at least 3 layers of fabric
- The mask should be comfortable to wear
COVID-19: Fabric face masks or non-medical masks need to be worn by the general public whenever stepping out of the home. The fabric face mask should be made up of at least three layers of fabric, according to the World Health Organization. These masks need to be especially worn in areas where there are many people infected with COVID-19 in the community and in areas where physical distancing of at least one metre cannot be maintained. Face masks act as a barrier so you can protect those around you. Outer layer of the mask must have a water-resistant fabric, while the inner layer must be water-absorbent, and the middle layer should act as a filter.
COVID-19: Three layers of fabric face masks, explained
The middle layer can be inserted between the inner and outer layer of fabric face mask. The inner layer, which comes in direct contact with your face, should be a hydrophilic material, says Alice Simniceanu, Infection Prevention Specialist, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, in an IGTV.
1. Inner layer of fabric face mask
A hydrophilic material is one which easily absorbs droplets from exhaled breath. Cotton is an example of this material, Simniceanu adds.
For the inner layer, it is important to select a light colour such as white, which can help determine when the fabric is soiled or wet. "A good place to find this fabric is in a woven or knit cotton t-shirt," says Simniceanu in the video shared by WHO.
2. Middle layer of fabric face mask
The middle layer of a fabric face should go into a pocket between the inner and outer layer. It should act as a filter. "This should ideally be a strip of polypropylene fabric, which is a spun bond non-woven fabric material," Simniceanu says.
3. Outermost layer of fabric face mask
This layer should be made up of hydrophobic material. This kind of fabric will repel droplets and moisture. "The layer can be made up of synthetic material like polyester or polyester and cotton blend," she explains.
Tips for making your own fabric face mask
- It is important to know the right size of the mask. The mask needs to cover your nose and the area under your chin.
- You can insert a tiny metal rod or a plastic rod on the top (in between outer and inner layer) so that it can stay fixed on your nose. Remember, the mask is effective only when it fits your face properly. It should not be too loose else you will have to touch it repeatedly, defeating the whole purpose of it. If the mask is too tight, you will not feel comfortable with it and would want to remove, which again is something to be avoided.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.