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In order to help slow the spread of coronavirus, face masks and cloth coverings have increasingly become part of our daily garb. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a face covering when you’re in crowded public places and now New York, Maryland and parts of California will make or have already made them mandatory to wear or carry in places where social distancing isn’t possible, like the supermarket.
Why? To help slow the spread of the virus. With the shortage of N95 and surgical face masks, cloth coverings are the next best option. Note that wearing a nonmedical face mask doesn’t exempt you from physical and social distancing — you still need to behave as though you’re not wearing one. And also be aware that nonmedical masks may not prevent you from acquiring COVID-19, which is why other precautions are so important.
If making your own face mask or face covering at home isn’t for you, there are some options for where to buy premade, nonmedical face masks, and what to look for when buying one. We’ll keep updating this list as we learn of new stores and sources.
Here are some options for buying face masks and cloth coverings online.
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What to look for in a nonmedical face mask you buy
When shopping for masks, look for one that’s made from cotton and has a filter pouch — a thicker material or designs with more layers might trap larger particles you accidentally eject through talking, coughing or sneezing.
The mask you buy needs to be wide enough to cover your nose and chin, and should be snug enough not to create gaps. A tight fit will help keep out large particles that travel through the air, like from sneezes. For example, medical-grade masks comes in sizes.
Remember to wash the mask before putting it on. You might want to buy multiple masks so that you always have a clean one on hand — you’ll need to wash it whenever you get home after going out in public.
Caraa, a New York City-based sports bag company, has started an initiative called Caraa Cares that’s making face masks from its leftover materials from the production line. The masks come in a pack of five for $25 and will begin shipping out on April 17.
If you’re able to safely buy a homemade face mask from someone local, then Facebook Marketplace is a good place to find them. Make sure to follow your local guidelines about physical distancing when buying anything.
This includes standing at least 6 feet apart, so make arrangements to pick up the item from their porch or ask if the buyer can ship the item to help avoid contact. Wear gloves when collecting the mask and wash it immediately.
Also, if possible, use a mobile payment service to buy the products instead of exchanging cash, which could harbor germs or bring you into close contact with the seller. Some sellers offer a buy button so that you can pay online.
Shopping an Etsy store is another option if you’re looking to buy multiple face masks with different prints. It’s important to note that they do sell out quickly, so if you spot one you like, it might be best to buy it then.
Some sellers carry sizes for adults and kids, so make sure to check the size before buying the mask to make sure you’re getting one that fits.
A baby blanket company in Seattle, SwaddleDesigns recently converted its factory to start making face masks. The masks are designed by a nurse and have two layers of cotton flannel fabric.
Arm The Animals
If you want a mask that’s fun to wear and gives people joy when they see it, then try one from Arm The Animals. You can get a mask with a tiger face, a cat or dog face or other options. The company donates a mask to California hospitals, medical facilities and emergency workers each time one is purchased.
Amazon Handmade now has many more options at the time of writing, so it’s a good source for finding face masks. You’ll need to read the description to make sure you’re getting the mask you want, for example, if you’re looking for a thicker mask.
Many of these sellers are at capacity and working on orders that will take weeks to fulfill, so it’s possible that it could take up to a month to receive your shipment.
American Blanket Company
The American Blanket Company is selling fleece face masks, which are thicker than a standard face mask. The company is donating face masks to first responders and healthcare workers with every purchase. You can get a five-pack for $39.
Sun Lovin Roots
Sun Lovin Roots is an athleisure line that has started making face coverings. For every three masks that are sold, one will be donated to a person in need. Plus 10% of all sales are going to the organization Direct Relief.
Custom Ink is a printing company that creates customized gear for businesses and groups. Now, the company is using its resources to make protective cloth face masks. You can order a family pack of 12 for $30.
The printing company notes that these masks are for personal use and shouldn’t be worn in a surgical or clinical setting where the infection risk is high.
MaskClub is a new company that’s donating medical-grade masks to the First Responders Children’s Foundation for every mask sold. It offers designs such as Batman, Adventure Time and Betty Boop that it hopes will make kids more comfortable wearing them.
Los Angeles Apparel
You can get a three-pack of cotton face masks from Los Angeles Apparel for $30. The masks offer an adjustable nose and straps so you can shape it to better fit your face.
TheraMasks is selling medical-purpose copper masks. The company claims the masks reduce facial contamination, but also notes they don’t claim to prevent coronavirus. They’re machine washable up to 30 times and are made at an FDA-registered facility.
Electrothreads offers colorful face masks for adults for $20 each. They’re made with elastic and they’re adjustable for a snug fit.
USA Sewn Masks
USA Sewn Masks is donating all of its profits to organization Flexport to go toward supplies for front line workers. The masks have two layers of cotton with a pocket for adding a filter.
Ask local groups
If you don’t want to wait for items to be shipped, you can reach out to any social clubs or religious groups you may belong to and ask if anyone is making them. If your neighborhood uses Nextdoor or has a Facebook page, you can also post there to see if anyone can make you one — it’s considerate to offer to pay for their time.
Again, remember to wash the face masks before wearing them for the first time and after each use.
For more resources, here’s how to make a face mask or covering at home, everything you need to know about homemade face masks and coronavirus and 13 ways to help keep yourself safe when you leave the house.
Best practices for safe shopping, delivery and takeout…
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.