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Louth in Lincolnshire

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Million Mask April

April 10th 2020

Official advice on face masks at the moment, from the UK government, is that the public don't need to wear clinical face masks. This is partly because of the risk of creating shortages for the NHS and other key workers.

In other countries, the advice on face masks is more varied. The Canadian government has advice on wearing non-medical masks. Meanwhile in Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Bulgaria their governments are much keener for members of the public to wear face masks. France's National Academy of Medicine published advice on 2nd April recommending the use of non-surgical masks by the general public.

The local situation

In Louth, I have noticed more people wearing masks when out shopping. I'll be wearing one because I get hay fever, and when the pollen count is high an accidental sneeze could be bad news. So it's better to cover up, keep the pollen out, and not sneeze a potentially deadly cloud of viral poison all over the place. Because I could be a symptomless carrier, and so could you.

With only a few people wearing masks, it still feels somewhat odd to walk around in one of them, but that is changing quite rapidly.

Wearing a non-medical mask does have the benefit of preventing you from touching your face, and it also normalises the practice so it's easier for other people to wear them. Masks are also hot and somewhat uncomfortable, which makes you think twice about leaving the house at all: a social distancing victory!

One I made earlier

Pictured here is a mask I made from some spare 100% cotton fabric, adapted from instructions found online. Pure cotton is best, because ideally home-made masks should be put in a hot wash after every outing before they're worn again. I used some strapping for the ties, but you can use a bit of elastic instead.

The important thing is to look first for what's lying around your house, because it's a bad time to buy anything for craft projects when every interaction you have, or cause someone else to have, is a potential risk.

Sewing projects

I'm not especially talented when it comes to sewing, which is why I'm focusing on making masks just for my own family. However, some within our community have impressive skills, and are putting them to good use. The Lindsey Patchworkers have been asked to make bags for NHS workers so that they can safely transport their scrubs for washing. They're not doing masks; the masks needed for medical-grade protection aren't something you can make in a non-sterile home environment.

Meanwhile, other people are sewing scrubs, which Lincolnshire NHS is short of. This is being co-ordinated through the Facebook group "For The Love of Scrubs - Lincolnshire". They are looking for help from people who can use a sewing machine, as well as those who can help with other related tasks.

Spare fabric

In other fabric-related news, charity shops are closed, and that also means they have no way of accepting donations. Many fabric donation banks are full and may not be being emptied. The Household Waste Recycling Centre on Fairfield is also closed. So, if you have fabric to donate or dispose of after a spring clean, keep it for now.

Official advice

Visit the NHS page for its updated advice on dealing with Coronavirus.

The UK Government also has guidance for the public.



 


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