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Homemade face masks may not block coronavirus like N95: CDC says make them your last resort

Homemade face masks may not block coronavirus like N95: CDC says make them your last resort,mask must be FDA cert factory

Homemade face masks are a topic of hot conversation as stock of certified N95 respirator masks -- the essential protective equipment used by health care workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic -- reaches critical lows. In response, grassroots campaigns across the US are urging residents to sew face masks at home for the medical community and for your own family's protection. 


There's just one problem: Handmade masks aren't scientifically proven to be as effective at protecting you from the novel coronavirus, no matter how extreme the shortage of N95 masks. Why not? The answer comes down to the way N95 masks are made, certified and worn. A self-made cotton mask certainly won't harm you as long as you understand its limitations. But assuming it will shield you from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, could put communities at greater risk if you're not following other protocols to stay safe.


While many argue that using a homemade mask is better than nothing (especially in a last-resort hospital setting), when it comes to personal use, the most surefire way for most of us to protect the health of high-risk groups such as senior citizens and people with compromised immune systems is to self-quarantine at home, frequently and thoroughly was your hands and practice appropriate social distancing.


Those who work in health-care capacities don't always have that choice. As a result, global leaders and medical professionals ask that you please not buy N95 masks for yourself, so as to save them for the medical community that's in desperate need. For example, Target has apologized for selling N95 masks amid the shortage.


If you do have a supply of N95 masks on hand, consider donating them to a health care facility or hospital near you. Here's how to donate hand sanitizer and protective equipment to hospitals in need -- and why you should also refrain from making your own hand sanitizer.


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