The Government of Canada tells us “the best thing we can do to prevent the spread of COVID -19 is to wash our hands frequently with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.” When it’s not possible, consider using a good hand sanitizer. We should also stay at home if we’re feeling ill, try to maintain a 2-metre physical distance from others when we leave the home, and “when physical distancing cannot be maintained, consider wearing a non-medical mask or homemade face covering, and avoid touching your face, mouth, nose or eyes.” But…
Not All Masks Are Created Equal
To begin, non-medical masks or homemade face coverings are not the same as surgical, medical procedure face masks and respirators (like N95 masks), which must be kept for health care workers and others providing direct care to COVID-19 patients. Cloth masks may not prevent us from inhaling any particles that carry the Coronavirus. So, is it worth wearing one? Aaron Hamilton, MD, from the Cleveland Clinic says “A cloth mask will not prevent you from breathing in respiratory droplets that carry a virus, like COVID-19. But it will help to protect others from you if you happen to be infected, with or without symptoms. Furthermore, cloth masks help to reinforce social distancing and good cough etiquette, which ultimately will help to slow how far the virus spreads.” But is it really worth wearing one? Face masks can make us feel uncomfortable for many reasons – they can trigger us, make us feel claustrophobic, remind us that our freedom has been taken away and our fear getting sick or making someone sick is heightened … there is so much confusion about wearing a mask during these wild and unsettling times, but as with everything, take pause, and make a clear-headed, healthy decision.
If you choose to wear a mask, please consider what you are placing over your face – what you are breathing in, what kind of economy you are supporting. Your health and wellness depends on it – we all depend on each other. Please avoid using single-use face masks as they are generally made from unhealthy, synthetic plastic-based materials and are also contributing to the rise in plastic pollution.
Choose a non-medical mask or face covering that is made from sustainable and healthy materials.
A healthy mask is made from a breathable material you can wear over your mouth and nose, and that can be washed and reused over and over, as needed. Take precaution but take care! If we’re going to wear something against our skin and breathe it in, we want it to be as safe, and clean, and conscious as possible, like these:
Hemp Organic Cotton Mask w/Ties from Chartreuse Style, three layers, ties to fit everyone, made in Canada.
Coming soon from Chartreuse Style, these organic cotton sateen masks with adjustable ear loops.
Hemp and Organic Cotton Mask from LIVE, antibacterial, breathable, dye-free, kids and adult sizes.
Salvaged Hemp Blend Face Mask from United By Blue, double layered, responsibly made in China.
Soft Bamboo Rayon and Cotton Mask from Mini Mioche, made in Canada and available in adult and kid sizes.
Organic Cotton Masks from Q for Quinn, three layers of certified organic cotton, adjustable pull string, available in adults and kids sizes.
And, here are some more do’s and don’ts of wearing a non-medical mask or face covering.
Stay safe, be well!