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Experts Say There Is A Place For Homemade Masks


Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic online crafting sites and social media have been flooded with patterns and pictures for homemade masks, but are they actually useful?  

Ohio Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton says with personal protective equipment at a premium, there *is* a place for the homemade.

"You know, we're not to that stage for the front-line healthcare worker doing an invaisive procedure, but we are conserving; hospitals have a lot going on.  But wearing a mask like you see in places like Asia where it is actually common courtesy...when people are sick, they actually wear a mask so they're not spreading those respiratory droplets.  And that works!  That mesh is not going keep out like a N95, a microscopic  virus from coming in.  But it will certainly protect from someone from sneezing on someone else."

Melinda Anderson normally teaches kids' classes at the Polaris JoAnn's Fabrics, but lately she's been assembling mask kits for customers.  She believes they have a two-fold benefit.

"If the grocery stores are staying open because they feed our bodies, the craft and hobbies stores, these are the things that feed our spirits. If working on your craft helps you keep your moods elevated, keeps [down] those anxieties that come with the uncertain of the epidemic - then that is good for your body, that's good for your health.

Crisis strategy guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say home-made masks that cover the chin and the sides of the face can be used as a last-resort.  But they are not considered medical-grade personal protective equipment.

A native of Chicago, naturalized citizen of Cincinnati and resident of Columbus, Alison attended Earlham College and the Ohio State University. She has equal passion for Midwest history, hockey and Slavic poetry.
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