REUSABLE MOUTH MASKS IN UGANDA
All together fighting Corona
As people scramble for ways to protect themselves against COVID-19 Kampala has run short of surgical masks. Replacing such an expensive piece of protective equipment daily is simply not feasible for most people.
Reusable cotton masks offer an alternative in absence of the hospital grade surgical masks. Preliminary studies suggest that these masks reduce contact transmission and provide a limited mechanical barrier to decrease the dispersal of larger droplets. However they do not filter aerosol suspended droplets after sneezing.
Elijah Mcquinn is a Ugandan fashion label which converted its production in March 2020 from sustainable fashionable designs to hand sewn mouth masks in the fight against Corona virus.
We hope you all stay safe and healthy!
MASKS BY ELIJAH MCQUINN
AVAILABLE AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS.
Elijah Mcquinn Boutique
Kisementi, Sturrock road plot 4
next to Cutting Station
by boda boda
Replacing your mask three times a day is recommended. We offer a package of three masks now at 40,000UGX.
Place your orders by Whatsapp on
What we know, you should know also
HOW DO COTTON MASKS COMPARE TO SURGICAL MASKS?
Limited research shows that both masks significantly reduce the number of microorganisms expelled by volunteers, although the surgical mask was 3 times more effective in blocking transmission than the homemade mask. 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.
References: Davies, Anna & Thompson, Katy-Anne & Giri, Karthika & Kafatos, George & Walker, James & Bennett, Allan. (2013). Testing the Efficacy of Homemade Masks: Would They Protect in an Influenza Pandemic?. Disaster medicine and public health preparedness. 7. 413-418. 10.1017/dmp.2013.43.
HOW DOES CORONA VIRUS SPREAD?
The Corona virus is expected to spread in the following ways:
Contact: transmission occurs when a person touches a surface, human or nonhuman, contaminated with viral material and transfers the material to a mucous membrane on their body, e.g. lips, mouth, eyes, nasal passages.
Droplet: transmission occurs when an infected person coughs or sneezes and respiratory droplets containing the pathogen make immediate contact with susceptible mucosal membranes of another person (at close range).
Aerosol: transmission occurs when someone inhales virus-laden particles suspended in air. Short range aerosol transmission occurs when particles are expelled and someone in close proximity inhales them soon after they are expelled.
References: COVID-19 Improvised Face Masks: Factsheet and Recommendations, 3/25/2020.
WHAT IS THE EFFECTIVENESS OF COTTON BASED MASKS?
Contact: Under specific conditions, a well-constructed and comfortable cloth mask may reduce contact transmission. For example, when used by those venturing out of the house for brief periods into congested public areas.
Droplet: Cloth masks may provide a limited mechanical barrier to decrease the dispersal of droplets of larger size—but not the smaller particle spray—that comprise part of what is expelled by a cough or sneeze. However, cloth masks are an insufficient barrier for a healthy person in close proximity to a sick person who coughs or sneezes, as smaller particles can still pass through cloth. This outward barrier may help to reduce the droplet spray from coughs and sneezes, either by filtering larger particles, or by redirecting some of the spray-out back from the mask.
Aerosol: There is no research (that we know of) measuring how cloth masks, when worn over long periods of use, filter suspended viral aerosol droplets. The lack of research on cloth mask filtration efficacy when used by HCWs, makes us wary of over-extending the findings about cloth mask filtration in other settings. Given the lack of study of the topic, we cannot recommend cloth masks as an effective method to reduce aerosol transmission. After conducting a randomized control trial of cloth masks vs. medical masks in 2011, researchers cautioned that “the physical properties of a cloth mask, reuse, the frequency and effectiveness of cleaning, and increased moisture retention, may potentially increase the infection risk for HCWs” (6). See “A note on the possible dangers of cloth masks” in this document for a more detailed review of the study’s findings. Given what we know, the recommended methods to reduce aerosol transmission remain improved ventilation and social distancing.
References: COVID-19 Improvised Face Masks: Factsheet and Recommendations, 3/25/2020,
ARE THESE MOUTH MASKS RECOMMENDED FOR USE BY HEALTH WORKERS?
Hospital grade surgical masks should be preserved for health workers only. By offering an alternative product to the general public Elijah Mcquinn reduces the demand for the remaining surgical masks.
The physical properties of a cloth mask, reuse, the frequency and effectiveness of cleaning, and increased moisture retention, may potentially increase the infection risk for HCWs. As a precautionary measure, cloth masks should not be recommended for HCWs, particularly in high-risk situations” for respiratory infection.
References: Institute of Medicine. 2006. Reusability of Facemasks During an Influenza Pandemic: Facing the Flu. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11637.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS BY USING THESE MOUTH MASKS?
Wearing a cloth mask, in a room with aerosolized virus particles or in close proximity to someone who is symptomatic (coughing/sneezing), will not provide adequate protection against these particles.
Wearing a cloth mask may give a healthy person a false sense of security, which can contribute to increased viral transmission.
Wearing a cloth mask for long periods of time may increase contact transmission to others if the mask becomes contaminated and the person wearing the mask touches the mask and other surfaces without using proper hand hygiene.
References: COVID-19 Improvised Face Masks: Factsheet and Recommendations, 3/25/2020
DO I REALLY NEED A MASK?
If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO PROTECT MYSELF?
We refer to the WHO at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public for the latest expert guidance.