Face Masks and Cleaners - Are They Protecting You From COVID-19?
Updated: Jun 1, 2020
April 5, 2020 - In just the last 3 days (April 2- April 5), the US has seen an increase of over 100,000 COVID-19 cases. There are a lot factors that affect these numbers that are reported, such as wider availability of testing. As testing becomes available to more and more areas, the increase in the number of cases reported will also increase, making the jump in numbers seem scary, yet the reality of the spread of the infection is only limited to the ability to diagnose it. Many people have already been infected and recovered without any testing.
As the virus starts to saturate an area, the level of restrictions rise. Here in the St Louis area, social distancing, closed public places, and stay at home orders are issued. Markets such as Target and Walmart are limiting their customers for in-store shopping to 1 cart, 1 person and NO KIDS.
Now the CDC is recommending that everyone wear a homemade face mask out in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS A HOMEMADE FACE MASK?
First, lets look at how the virus travels.
The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that, under the right conditions, sneezes, coughs and just exhaling can transport liquid droplets more than 26 feet and linger in the air for minutes. Droplets can enter air circulation systems and vents, spreading it throughout a building. Opening the windows in your home is suggested to rid your interior of any contaminated air. But what about public spaces?
N95 Respirators and surgical masks have the highest protection against the virus, however, they should be reserved for medical professionals.
Elastomeric Respirators is a reusable mask with replaceable filters. It blocks the same particles as an N95 respirator. It fits tightly against the face and has an APF of 10, which means it also blocks 90% of airborne particles.
Homemade Masks -
Although they do not block the virus like an N95 respirator, homemade face masks help prevent the spread of COVID19. Individuals who are infected and don't know it transmit the virus through coughing and sneezing. Wearing a face mask will help prevent the infected individual from spreading it by capturing the droplets.
There are many tutorials on YouTube for making your own facemask.
Happy DIY Home has a great article on how to make a face mask 5 different ways
The CDC has online tutorial for making sewn face masks and no sew face masks.
Sewn and No Sew Face Mask Tutorial
No Sew Face Masks can be made from a T-Shirt. The most important part of your homemade face mask is the fit. Loosely fitted face masks are not effective.
The sewn version of the homemade face mask includes a filter pocket, which a coffee filter can be inserted and replaced as needed.
DOES YOUR CLEANER KILL COVID-19?
The CDC suggests that frequent hand washing is still the most effective prevention in the spread of COVID-19. There are several studies that look at how long the virus will live on different surfaces, which brings up the question: Which cleaning agents are the most effective in killing the virus?
The CDC has an extended list of household cleaners (and commercial cleaners) available on the market. They recommend you check the label on the cleaner and look for the CDC code. You can enter the code on the website and see if it effectively kills COVID-19 virus.
Check your Cleaning Agent Here
Consumer Reports published an article on effective household cleaners.
“It isn’t possible to disinfect every surface you touch throughout your day,” says Stephen Thomas, M.D., chief of infectious diseases and director of global health at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y. “The planet is covered with bacteria and viruses, and we’re constantly in contact with these surfaces, so hand-washing is still your best defense against COVID-19.”
You need to amp up your typical cleaning routine only if someone in the household exhibits signs and symptoms of a respiratory infection or if you live in an area with known cases of COVID-19. In that scenario, Thomas says, “Clean high-traffic areas that get touched frequently, such as kitchen counters and bathroom faucets, three times a day with a product that kills viruses.
The American Chemistry Council's (ACC) Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC) has compiled a list of products that have been pre-approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use against emerging enveloped viral pathogens and can be used during the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This product list is not exhaustive but can be used by business owners, health professionals, and the public to identify products suitable for use during the COVID-19 situation.
Complete list of cleaners that kill COVID19
PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF COVID 19
Wash Your Hands Frequently
Maintain Social Distancing
Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose & Mouth
Cover Your Cough or Sneeze
If you can - avoid public places and take advantage of no-contact delivery services.
Order online and do curbside pickups.
Wear a face mask in public places where you cannot maintain social distancing.
Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.
"This too shall pass."
Founder/Owner, Gwen Co, LLC
"Everything you love is under that roof."