The deadly disease that has plagued the Chinese people for the past few weeks Coronavirus has forced the Chinese citizens to use extreme methods to protect themselves. With the market failing to supply masks to the Chinese citizens, people have resorted to using unconventional methods to protect themselves by making masks out of fruits and bras. Yes, you heard it right, bras are also being used by the Chinese people in light of the shortage of medical masks in the market. With prices of medical masks rising and the people have resorted to innovative ways and made makeshift masks that are cheap and easy to make at home.
The surge in Demand for Mask
Coronavirus has affected more than 70,000 people in China and across the world and taken the lives of more than 1800 people so far. The fatal virus has sent the Chinese authorities and people into a frenzy and has resulted in a surge in demand for medical masks in China and worldwide. The Chinese authorities have also encouraged its citizens to wear these masks in public and otherwise in order to keep the virus from spreading. Following this, there has been a surge in demand for medical and surgical masks with people waiting in long queues for hours at a stretch outside pharmacies to get a hand on masks to protect themselves and their families.
Since there is no vaccine to treat the coronavirus as yet doctors do encourage those affected by the virus to wear masks to stop it from spreading. While scientists and doctors do believe that the virus can be controlled if effected people wear the mask there is no evidence that these masks can protect unaffected people from catching the virus. According to WHO other methods such as frequent hand washing, proper disposal of tissues and maintaining a 3-foot distance from other people are more effective than wearing masks. Regardless, companies across China and throughout the world are working overtime to make these masks to meet the demand of the Chinese people who are relying heavily on these masks to protect themselves.
Type of Masks and Their Uses
1. Surgical Facemasks
A surgical facemask is a facemask that you often see doctors wear while carrying out operational procedures in the surgery. They are disposable masks that offer protection to the wearer from potential contaminants in a given environment. These masks are usually of loose-fitting and create a physical barrier between the mouth and the nose of the wearer. If worn properly the mask is meant to protect the wearer from sprays and splatter that may contain germs and can also protect the wearer from large particle droplets. It is best used by medical professionals and surgeons during surgeries.
2. N95 Respirators
The N95 respirator is a more advanced form of the surgical facemask and offers more protection to the wearer as compared to the traditional facemask. The N95 respirator is designed in a way that it has a very close fit to the mouth and the nose and there isn’t any open space left while wearing this mask. This mask is much thicker than the normal surgical mask and is designed in a way that can block almost 95 percent of small particles such as viruses thereby protecting its wearer from harmful diseases. Its filtration mechanism is much more advanced than that of a normal facemask and can provide greater protection to the wearer due to its close fit and effectiveness. However, N95 masks are usually not designed for children or people who have facial hair as it is difficult to achieve the perfect fit and provide protection to them with these masks.
3. Salt coated masks
With coronavirus and the demand for masks on the rise, another mask that has become popular amongst the Chinese people to protect themselves from the virus is the salt coated mask. An engineer, Hyo Jick Choi from the University of Alberta has come up with a system to make ordinary masks more robust and effective in lieu of the coronavirus and that is through lining the masks with salt crystals. The salt crystals ensure that viruses that can otherwise stay on mask surfaces for weeks can be eliminated entirely and be trapped easily through the salt crystals thereby making these masks effective against viruses.
4. Disposable Masks
Disposable masks that are commonly available in the market are also a form of facemasks that people are using to protect themselves from the coronavirus. While these masks are not as effective as other masks they can be useful and can potentially protect the wearer if they are changed and disposed of regularly and if the wearer also practices other precautions advised by health authorities to protect the wearer from viruses. The thickness of disposable masks may vary. While surgical masks are more effective, ordinary disposable masks have to be changed more frequently in order for them to protect the wearer.
Bra Mask and How to DIY One
In times of desperation, people resort to extreme measures to protect themselves and their loved ones from imminent danger. With coronavirus, it has been the same and one such extreme measure that the Chinese have resorted to in order to protect themselves is to wear masks made out of bras. Bra masks are now a thing in China and people are making their own bra masks because of the shortage of surgical masks and respirators in the market. All you have to do is take a padded bra and either fold it or cut it in half to fit the cup around your mouth and nose. Adjust the straps to loop them around your ears and voila your bra mask is ready.
Fruit Skin Mask
Another mask that people in Wuhan have resorted to in order to protect themselves from the fatal coronavirus is to fashion masks out of fruit skins and peel. The most famous one used and seen wearing by the Chinese people is the grapefruit mask. All you have to do is halve a grapefruit and empty it from all the pulp. Make sure that the halved fruit cup fits your face and protects your mouth and nose. Take a string and tie it around your makeshift mask.
Water bottle masks
Water bottle masks are another great way to protect yourself from getting affected by the coronavirus. People in China have resorted to recycling water bottles by using them as protection for their faces and mouths. The best way to make a water bottle mask is to cut a large water bottle container in half. Make sure you cut it in a way so that it fits your head and offers a plastic shield all the down to your chin. Wear your normal disposable mask underneath and the half-cut bottle on your face. You might want to take the bottle cap off or cut holes in it so that you can breathe properly.
Some people have resorted to protecting themselves in the most convenient way possible in light of the mask shortage in the Chinese market. Chinese citizens are now using motorcycle helmets to shield themselves from the imminent threat of the coronavirus. Since helmets already come with cloth, foam and plastic protection for the head and face it isn’t much you have to do except go to a motorcycle store and buy a head-protecting helmet.
Plastic Shield bags
Some people have gone a step further to protect themselves and are using more than just facemasks to protect themselves from the deadly coronavirus. Large plastic bags are being used by citizens to protect their faces and torso from the virus additional to the facemask. All to have to do is take a large plastic bag tie it up at one end and keep the other end open to fit it over your torso. For extra protection, you might want to invest in disposable gloves as well to protect yourself from germs in public spaces.
The deadly coronavirus has sparked fear amongst the Chinese people and millions around the world. With facemasks becoming a rare commodity in the market due to the ever-escalating demand, people have resorted to untraditional means to protect themselves from the virus by fashioning masks from bras, plastic bottles, and fruit skins.