Mask to protect against viruses
I was shocked to realize that the assorted health agencies had not made serious provisions for testing to find out who might be infected with the corona virus and was even more shocked to learn that they have not made much effort to have appropriate supplies available for hospitals dealing with large numbers of infectious patients. This shocking neglect to adequately supply hospitals means that there is almost no protective equipment available for the rest of us.
Everyone who cooks, delivers or hands food out through a takeout window should be wearing a mask. All store clerks should be wearing masks both for their protection and the protection of the customers. Everyone going to a pharmacy or to get medical care should certainly be wearing a mask. Since there are not enough surgical masks and other protective equipment for medical personnel the rest of us need to improvise. Fabric masks and other types of masks can at least decrease exposure to airborne droplets containing infectious viruses. These are directions for mask made of coffee filters. They are not nearly as good as a surgical mask, but are better than nothing.
COFFEE-FILTER FACE MASK
What you need:
Two coffee filters
Two to three feet of craft ribbon or string
Keep the coffee filters nested. Place them cup side down.
Fold the bottom edges of the mask up about an inch (approximately 2-3 cm). Fold the top edge about a half inch (or about 1 cm).
Then fold the top over another half inch. This will make the top part of the mask slightly stiffer so it will hold the bend over your nose better.
Place the ribbon in the top and bottom troughs formed by the folded edges of the coffee filters. Tape the folded edges of the filters down to hold the ribbon in place.
Loop the ribbon over one ear and tie the free ends of the ribbon to hold the mask in place over your face.
This mask will not stop lone viruses from getting through because the coffee filter is too porous. It will tend to block large droplets from coughing or sneezing. Droplets can contain huge numbers of viruses and be very infectious.
The air needs to come in from the sides of the mask to avoid drying out droplets and to avoid accidentally drawing them through the mask when the person inhales.
This mask is not nearly as good as a surgical mask, but better than nothing. It is much easier to wear a mask like this than to walk around holding a tissue in front of your face.
I found that I am sensitive to the odor of cheap masking tape but the cellophane tape was OK for me. Masks should be tested at home for comfort and allergens before trying to use them.
The coffee filters should be thrown away after the mask in used. Washing hands with soap and warm water will destroy the virus, so it is important to wash your hands after handling used masks. The roll of ribbon was 47 cents so this is not too expensive, but I plan on removing the ribbons and washing them in hot, soapy water to use again.