How to make a basic protective face mask, even if you can’t sew

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its prevention protocol regarding the spread of COVID-19 to recommend the public start wearing cloth face masks in situations where social distancing is difficult, like in grocery stores or pharmacies, and areas that have high numbers of community-based transmission of the virus.

The CDC says this is because even those who are exhibiting no symptoms of the coronavirus can spread the disease. The goal is to stop the transmission of droplets.

Note: These are cloth face masks, not the personal protective equipment reserved for medical personnel and those on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis.

There are plenty of ways to make your own mask at home, and local businesses are even offering kits that supply the tools to do so. But if you're in a pinch and need to make one quickly with some materials you have on hand, this guide will walk you through the steps necessary to do so. All you'll need is some sort of handkerchief, bandana, scarf or square piece of material — something thick enough that you can't see through it directly — and two hair ties. For extra protection, you can cut a coffee filter to fit in the middle of the mask.

After wearing the mask in public, the CDC recommends you wash and machine dry it to disinfect to fabric.

| Photos by Kaitlyn Handel