Fight Coronavirus from the Comfort of Your Own Home
In hospitals treating Coronavirus patients, N95 protective masks keep infection from spreading from patients to doctors, nurses, and other front-line health workers. While personal protective equipment [PPE] manufacturers have been ramping up production, there still aren’t enough to meet hospitals’ needs everywhere. To say nothing of the needs of long-term care facilities such as assisted living and nursing homes.
But seniors with sewing machines in their homes can reduce the shortages. Normally, each N95 mask is good for just one use. But a homemade cloth mask covering it, a front-line health worker can use it over and over, day after day, for an extended period of time – provided they take the cloth mask home and wash it at the end of the day’s shift.
Sewing homemade masks is also good for seniors, both physically and emotionally. Physically because being self-isolated at home, where there’s less risk of exposure, cloth masks can provide decent protection. And emotionally, because making the masks is not only a new activity, but also one with a feeling of accomplishment, helping out and community connection.
Masks aren’t the only home-sewn things that medical professionals could use during the pandemic. Some hospitals are asking for gowns they can wear over their scrubs or uniforms. Many medical workers want surgical caps. Some nurses have asked for headbands with large buttons sewn on each side at ear height. Another asked-for item is a cotton drawstring bag big enough for nurses and others to take off the uniforms, put them directly in the bag, and throw bag and contents into the washing machine, apart from other laundry.
If you or a family member wants to fight the pandemic from the comfort of your own home(s), here are some pointers:
- Before the first stitch, make sure you’re sewing from a pattern that’s appropriate and comfortable to use. You can find beginners’ and advanced sewers’ patterns online, as well as tutorials on how to sew them.
- Make sure the hospital you’re sewing masks for actually wants and needs them.
- All fabrics aren’t created equal. Knits have openings that are usually too big to do much filtration. Densely woven fabrics, with high thread counts, are best.
- If you try on any masks or other items fot fit, make sure to wash them before you donate them.
- Many local fabric stores are offering fabric and elastic for making masks. Some are offering discounts or donations.
If you have any questions about coping with the Coronavirus outbreak, or your retirement years in general, please feel free to call or email us. Just as we always have, we’ll be happy to give you honest, objective answers.