Face Masks UK: Where To Get Them And What You Should Know
The UK has been under strict lockdown restrictions since 23 March, and the government is starting to ease the restrictions in phases.
Non-essential businesses are going to open on 15 June. As a result, people are expected to come out and about, use public transportations, and tend to their needs. Hence, the government has made it clear that social distancing and wearing of masks must be done at all times.
In fact, face masks are mandatory in public transportations and those without face masks could be fined or refused travel. The question is: Do the face masks work? More about face masks UK, where to get them, and if they are effective.
Face Masks UK: What’s Going To Be Different 15 June Onwards?
Image Source/South China Morning Post
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced the easing of restrictions and the UK is gearing up to get back to business, albeit more carefully and warily.
According to Boris Johnson on 24 May,
“Today I can confirm I do believe we will be in a position to move to step two of our plan. As part of step two, we set out plans for a phased reopening of schools because the education of our children is crucial for their welfare, their health and their long-term future and for social justice.”
Meanwhile, on 4 June, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that face coverings on public transport will be mandatory in England and those who do not comply could be fined or refused travel.
However, very young people, disabled people and those who find it difficult to breath are exempted from wearing face masks.
More On Face Coverings…
It is vital to stop the spread of #COVID19 in hospitals – among staff, patients and visitors.
We’re issuing guidance advising staff to wear surgical masks and all visitors and outpatients to wear face coverings at all times.
— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) June 5, 2020
All hospital visitors and outpatients will have to wear face masks and NHS staffs will have to wear a surgical face mask at all times and in all areas.
According to Health Secretary Matt Hancock:
“All hospital staff will be required to wear type one or two surgical masks.
“And this will cover all staff working in a hospital, it will apply at all times – not just when they are doing life-saving work on the front line – and it will apply in all areas, except those areas designated as COVID-secure workplaces.”
As non-essential businesses open and secondary school pupils return to school, the need to cover your faces especially in enclosed space is absolutely critical in creating a safe environment for all.
Notably, the face masks are added protection and should never replace social distancing.
More importantly, the public is urged to wear homemade face masks instead of surgical masks or respirators which are needed more by healthcare staffs and frontliners.
How Effective Is Wearing Face Masks?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended the usage of face masks in public areas to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 coronavirus. New studies and evidence have concluded that face masks provide added protection and reduce the transmission of the virus.
According to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
“In light of evolving evidence, WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is a widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments”.
“Our guidance also explains how to use a mask safely. People can potentially infect themselves if they use contaminated hands to adjust a mask or to repeatedly take it off and put it on, without cleaning hands in between.
“Masks can also create a false sense of security, leading people to neglect measures such as hand hygiene and physical distancing.
“I cannot say this clearly enough: masks alone will not protect you from COVID-19.”
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) June 5, 2020
According To Another WHO Official…
“We are advising governments to encourage that the general public wears a mask. And we specify a fabric mask – that is, a non-medical mask.
“We have evidence now that if this is done properly it can provide a barrier… for potentially infectious droplets.”
Obviously, wearing a mask will give you extra protection and you don’t have to hunt for medical-grade masks. Fabric mask will do the job just fine and what’s more, you can make it at home and this is washable face mask too.
Can The Cloth Face Masks UK Provide You With Adequate Protection Like The Medical Face Masks?
Image Source/Popsugar UK
Medical face coverings protect healthcare workers from the germs of sick patients. With very fine weave that prevents barricades tiny aerosolised particles, they have been proven to be highly effective.
According to a primary health care expert,
“Many infections are spread by droplets, which are relatively large when they first come out as a cough or a sneeze but become much smaller as they travel through the air and become aerosolised. A medical mask must have a very fine weave because its job is to protect the wearer from tiny aerosolised particles.”
On the other hand, a fabric face mask blocks off bigger droplets before they become aerosolised.
“Its job isn’t to protect the wearer but to block the source of infection (what’s known as ‘source control’). Woven fabrics like cotton are very good at source control but less good at protecting the wearer.”
Moving On To Homemade Face Masks UK
When you wear your homemade face mask, your germs will be caught in it. As a result, you would not be able to infect others. The same goes to another person who is wearing a homemade face mask. They would not be able to pass their infection to you.
When everyone in enclosed public spaces wears a mask, the chances of infection will be greatly reduced. However, officials and experts are stressing that face masks will only be effective if everyone practises social distancing measures and regular hand washing.
More importantly, you should make sure you wash your hands when you put on and take off your mask. You should also wash the fabric face mask regularly using detergent.
Always follow the guidelines if you don’t want to end up breaking the lockdown rules and face scrutiny like Dominic Cummings!
What Does The Government Say About Homemade Face Masks UK?
Image Source/Good Housekeeping
Apparently, face masks UK can also be a cloth covering that covers your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe properly. The government listed down some useful nuggets of information regarding the handling of face masks or face covering.
“Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.”
“Do not touch the front of the face covering, or the part of the face covering that has been in contact with your mouth and nose. Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched.”
“You should wash a face covering regularly. It can go in with other laundry, using your normal detergent.”
“When wearing a face covering, take care to tuck away any loose ends.”
DIY Your Own Face Mask, According To The Government’s Guidelines
Image Source/Medical News Today
You can use a T-shirt or squares of cotton fabric to make effective face coverings or face masks UK. For face coverings using T-shirt, all you need is an old T-shirt and a pair of scissors.
Meanwhile, all you need to make a cotton fabric face masks are two 25cm x 25cm squares of cotton fabric, two 20cm pieces of elastic (or string or cloth strips), needle, thread, and scissors.
Fun Fact: Here’s the UK governments step by step guide to make homemade fabric face masks with ear loops.
However, the government also included a disclaimer saying,
“This information is a guide to making a simple face covering. We do not endorse any particular method and other instructions are widely available online. Always take care to use equipment safely to avoid injury. Children should only follow these instructions under the supervision of adults.”
How Else Can You Get Hold Of Face Masks UK?
Understandably, you may not want to make your own face masks out of old cloth. Worry not, various shops and brands have come up with their signature face masks UK, so much so that face masks are now being fashionable while serving its purpose.
Interestingly, masks sold online have increased by leaps and bounds in recent weeks!
Considering the current situation, you can do your mask shopping online, pre-order and get it delivered to your doorsteps.
Face Masks UK: Spoilt For Fashionable And Functional Choice
Apart from Amazon where you will be spoilt for choice, there are several other major brands that sell chic-looking and high-quality face masks online.
Some of them are:
Image Source/Sky News
Some are engineered with filter systems while some come in animal prints, rainbow colours, floral design and whatever that suits your personal style. These reusable face masks UK will attract even young kids to don face mask without making a fuss.
In the next few weeks where new normal takes over, face masks are going to be an integral part of our lives. Hence, it makes sense to make it pretty, fashionable and sustainable!