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How to make your own protective mask

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

There’s been a debate about whether you should to wear a mask during the coronavirus outbreak. Health officials have previously said that you don’t need one unless you’re sick. On the other hand, they’ve also said you may have it and not even really realize it thanks to mild or nonexistent symptoms.

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There’s also evidence suggesting wearing a cloth mask can cause other respiratory issues.

Now a person familiar with the White House coronavirus task force’s discussion said officials would suggest that nonmedical masks, T-shirts or bandannas be used to cover the nose and mouth people go outside — for instance, at the grocery store or pharmacy. Read more from the Associated Press. They want you to save the N95 masks for health care workers.

Popular Science has instructions about how to make a mask without a sewing machine. You’ll need to hand-sew a non-woven polypropylene reusable grocery bag. Note: Wash the bag first.

These instructions from Marketwatch might be better, if you don’t trust reusable shopping bags. They involve old bed sheets and a paperclip.

If you have a bandanna (or piece of similar sized cloth) and two rubber bands, this might be the YouTube video for you. There is no sewing involved. A hair tie and scarf works the same, according to this how-to guide. The author says tights or cut up socks are more comfortable than hair ties.

Ski masks and scarves might work, too.

If you’re an experienced seamstress, JOANN Fabrics has instructions and a supply list, along with a how-to video on YouTube. You could order supplies online. Amazon sells fabric and elastic.

NOTE: MyNorthwest acknowledges even the experts do not have a definitive answer on whether masks truly help stop the spread of coronavirus. When they do, we’ll update this story immediately. 

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