Who recommends Face Cloth Masks to prevent COVID-19?
Many international health organisations and governments have expressed that wearing Face Cloth Masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is not because it is a 100% effective barrier, but because when combined with other safety factors it can vastly reduce the likelihood of infection.
Early in the pandemic health organisations and governments were specifically recommending that ordinary citizens not wear a mask at all. Surgical masks and N95 masks were to be used by health personnel only.
On the 3 April 2020 the CDC (The Centres for Disease Control and Management in America) announced that in light of new information they were now recommending the use of clothes masks for anyone leaving their homes. This did not replace the request that surgical masks and N95 masks be kept for health professionals only, but acted as an additional request. The reason for the change in tactic was because so many patients do not show any symptoms. Thus they spread the disease without even realising it. Also, a patient is infectious when they are pre-symptomatic. This means that while they are still on the way to getting symptoms they can pass the disease to someone else.
This is pretty scary!
The best way to ensure you are not passing the disease along to others is to wear a mask, and act as if you are infectious any time you leave the house.
Wearing a cloth face mask is now the law in South Africa
As of 1 May 2020 all South Africans must wear a mask if they leave their home. This is now the law under the COVID-19 lock down regulations.
You will not be allowed into shops without a mask. You will not be allowed to visit the premises of essential services, such as your doctor, without a mask. You could be fined, or even arrested, if you are found off your property and not wearing a mask.
Be sure you have at least 2 cloth face masks for every member of your household that must leave the home. One clean one to wear, and one that can be cleaned after use.
Please remember that it is unsafe to put a mask on a child under the age of 2!
What type of face mask should I buy?
Here are some basic guidelines to follow when deciding which mask to buy:
- NEVER buy a surgical mask, or N95 mask. These are for medical personnel only. Even if you find somewhere that sells them please refrain from buying.
- The mask should have hoops for the ears, or tie behind your head. It is essential that you can apply the mask without touching the cloth of the mask itself
- It should have a clear inside, and outside, that you can easily identify. This is because you should never touch the inside of your facemask.
- The mask should be 3 layers, or have a pocket in the middle for a replaceable filter
What safety precautions should I take when wearing a fabric face mask?
- Only wear a mask that has been washed and ironed
- Ensure that your mask has at least 3 layers
- Do not touch your mask once it is applied
- Do not touch your face at all with hands that have not been washed or sanitized
- Do not remove the mask to talk, laugh, sing, cough or sneeze
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow even when wearing a mask
- Wash your hands with soap or sanitise regularly
- Keep 1 meter (3 feet) away from others at all times
- Do not touch the inside of the mask at any time
Where can I get a fabric barrier mask?
We recommend you buy from Shield Face Masks. Shield has partnered with out of work seamstresses to bring you quality, safe face masks.
You can buy the following masks:
- Adult cloth face masks which start from R60
- Kids cloth face masks at a cost of R50 each
- Shwe Shwe face masks which start from R75
- Bulk orders can be arranged.
Last Updated: May 5, 2020