After surveying many YouTube videos for face masks, I condluded that I could design a better cloth mask. Many designs I viewed did not seal the gap between the mask and cheek bones — particularly when worn by someone who has a prominent nose, like me.Continue reading
Here is the best article I have seen so far on how to make a DIY face mask. It discusses not only how to make the mask, but also the best materials and design features. It also ponders the limitations to protection. But most important, it describes how you should don and remove the mask to avoid contaminating your face and defeating the whole purpose of wearing a mask in the first place.
There is one design feature missing from the masks described here: they leave an air gap on each side of the wearer’s nose. Commercial masks often have a soft metal wire embedded in the upper edge that is easily shaped to close the gaps and achieve a better seal.Continue reading
There is no way to “see” where the COVID-19 virus is, just as we can’t see other microbes. Healthcare professionals learn habits called sterile technique to minimize the chance of transferring invisible microbes from one patient to another, or to an open surgical wound. In the following video, the doctor demonstrates the use of sterile technique to ensure that the goods you bring into your home don’t carry and shed the virus.Continue reading
Here are some resources for getting more out of the free Zoom meetings service. The first is an independently produced video that’s quite detailed (20 minutes). Laptop users can pause the video by pressing the spacebar.
The official training videos from Zoom.us are just 3 or so minutes and each deals with a particular feature.
Gates’ Foundation has been a major funder and a leader in the response to global epidemics for years, most notably Ebola. Now they are working on COVID-19. What is less well known is the fact that Bill Gates did a TED talk warning of the danger of just the sort of pandemic we now face. Here are both talks.
And his warning of March 2015 …
Our government did not see this disaster coming and defunded and downsized the departments that were responsible for ensuring preparedness. These talks demonstrate that those responsible could have known and should have been ready. Failure is always an orphan.
Trevor Noah interviews Gates on fighting the pandemic.
Are we so immersed in our throw-away culture that we have forgotten how to reuse scarce items? As the COVID-19 pandemic exhausts supplies of basic protective gear some workers are going without masks and protective gear because all that’s available is disposable. But that may not be necessary.
An ordinary clothes dryer set on high should be hot enough to destroy viruses on contaminated clothing. An infra-red thermometer would allow you to check the temperature inside the dryer. Before relying on this, get an expert opinion. That said, wouldn’t it be better to use the dryer than to simply re-use potentially contaminated gear or go without?
An ordinary pressure cooker develops 10 to 15psi steam at 240 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Objects suspended in a wire basket or colander would be steamed at this temperature.
Stanford has tested various methods for sanitizing disposable masks for reuse. They don’t recommend any method, possibly for liability reasons. They have determined that steam sterilization destroys the effectiveness of N-95 masks.Continue reading
These may not be as helpful as one would think, mainly because they require the proper donning and disposal procedure to be effective.
Remember that the virus needs to reach your mucus membrane (eyes, nose, or mouth) to infect you and replicate. If you touch your face with contaminated gloves they accomplish nothing. So you’d have to change gloves often, or wash them, to get the protection.
Contaminated gloves will also transfer virus to other surfaces, just as touching with contaminated hands would.
For these reasons, gloves are not recommended for protection when shopping or other everyday activities. Clinical use by professionals is a very different matter and they are trained to use them properly.
If you decide to use rubberized kitchen gloves when cleaning and sanitizing, be sure to sanitize the gloves before removing them.
When worn by an infected person, masks help to contain the tiny droplets of virus-laden fluid exhaled while breathing, sneezing, or coughing. When worn by a caregiver they afford some protection against inhaling these droplets. Either use causes one surface of the mask to become contaminated. For this reason, use of a mask requires care in handling to avoid spreading the virus. Healthcare professionals know the drill.
Since the masks are disposable and in short supply for the healthcare workers whose safety depends on using them, non-caregivers are discouraged from buying and using them.
Some websites offer instructions for sewing masks from scraps of fabric. Reuse of a mask requires sterilization. I imagine you could steam a mask, or dry it in a clothes dryer, or wash it, to sanitize it for reuse. But I don’t know how you verify that it still works like new. In the end you are left wondering if you should rely upon a mask for protection, or simply practice social distancing and hygiene to protect yourself and others.
Probably the most common sanitizing solution is one tablespoon of regular strength bleach (unscented) in one gallon of warm to hot water (70 to 110 degrees). This solution degrades over 24 hours and should be made fresh for each use.Continue reading
This is my take on the attitudes and actions that are prudent now and for the coming months of widespread contagion. First, adhere to the guidelines of the CDC.Continue reading