Face Mask (again!) by Frank H. Jernigan

Face Mask (again!)

by Frank H. Jernigan
Knitting
DK (11 wpi) ?
22 stitches = 4 inches
in Stockinette
US 4 - 3.5 mm
50 - 100 yards (46 - 91 m)
Standard
Flag of English English
This pattern is available as a free Ravelry download

The CDC now recommends the use of homemade facemasks if others are not available

HCP use of homemade masks: In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP healthcare professionals might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.

The Washington Post says we all should wear them.

Simple DIY masks could help flatten the curve. We should all wear them in public. Got a T-shirt? You can make a mask at home.

The New York Times says we should all make them.

It’s Time to Make Your Own Face Mask Contrary to what American officials told us, many studies show that widespread mask-wearing might be a very effective complement to hand-washing, social-distancing and other measures to mitigate the pandemic…Studies have also shown that mask-wearing (in conjunction with hand-washing) reduces the spread of infection within households or other shared living spaces, like residence halls.

The New York Times says it was a mistake to make us feel they did no good.

Why Telling People They Don’t Need Masks Backfired To help manage the shortage, the authorities sent a message that made them untrustworthy.

Face Mask
By Phrancko

I am bringing this pattern back. Please read below and see my blog to find out why.

PLEASE READ THIS: This is not a medical device. YOU SHOULD KNOW, THIS MASK WILL NOT PREVENT THE TRANSMISSION OF VIRUS EITHER INTO OUR OUT OF YOUR NOSE AND MOUTH. However, it will reduce the transmission of droplets into the atmosphere when you cough or sneeze and perhaps will prevent some droplets from entering as you breathe. A study says “Our findings suggest that a homemade mask should only be considered as a last resort to prevent droplet transmission from infected individuals, but it would be better than no protection.“ (emphasis added)

IMPORTANT: The concern with cloth masks is that they will harbor pathogens and may increase likelihood of infection IF NOT CLEANED THROUGHLY AND OFTEN. Wear them only for a short period of time and then sanitize them before wearing them again. If you touch your face while wearing an infected mask, you may in fact transfer captured pathogens to your face.

Note: I am not a doctor and I am providing this as a public service for people who agree this is better than nothing. With so much contradictory information in this early stage of the pandemic, we each have to make our own decision as to what is best.

Let’s not kid ourselves!

Face masks will not prevent you from getting a cold, flu, or coronavirus.

However, if an infected person wears one, it may help prevent them from spreading the virus when they cough or sneeze as it will help prevent the contaminated droplets from spewing out into the atmosphere. Over eighty percent of infected people have no symptoms so no one can be sure they are not already infected and may be spreading the virus. So one reason EVERYONE should wear a mask when in public is as a service to others…to lessen your chances of spreading the infection.

But there is also a reason to wear one for yourself. It is reasonable to think that wearing a face mask will remind you not to touch your face and to prevent putting your fingers in your mouth, especially while out in public. The most common way to be infected is to touch your face after touching an infected surface, such as a door knob, banister, hand rail, shopping cart, etc. The coronavirus lives for a long time on such hard surfaces. You get the virus after touching a surface and then touching your face.

That said, if your mask is harboring pathogens when you wear it, then touching your face while wearing it is even more dangerous.

Finally…

Who says a face mask has to look medicinal? Especially since this one is NOT a medical device as such, why not be creative and make your own designer mask? The square mask can be any pattern you choose. A thicker mask is suggested so something like Garter Stitch, Brioche, or Double Knit is recommended. How about an intarsia design? Or cables? Or a swirly brioche? The pictured mask was done in Garter Stitch with an intarsia wedge, just as an example.

For more information on my own evolution in thinking about this pattern, see my blog entry here. Also see this New York Times article which sent me to the study referred to in the opening paragraph.

Stay healthy and happy knitting!

Phrancko