Monday, May 04, 2009

Public Health, Mexican Style

Top Mexican newspaper El Universal provided readers with a guide to sewing a face mask. Today health officials in Mexico said the swine flu outbreak there is slowing. Coincidence? I think not.

Imagine my surprise, then, when a search of the CDC website revealed absolutely no info on do-it-yourself face masks. As a public service for gringo audiences I've translated the original face mask instructions from Spanish. Once everyone whips up one of these, there is no doubt that further spread of the H1N1 virus in the US can be averted.

Guide to Making a Face Mask (Gracias to El Universal)

1. Required materials: fabric, scissors, needle, thread and ruler. [And elastic, too, though this vital item was left off the list.]

2. Cut the fabric in rectangles that measure 40 x 16 cm. You don't need any special type of fabric, since the most important thing is to cover your face.* Remember that the face mask should not bother you.

3. Fold the fabric in half, to make a thick rectangle measuring 20 x 16 cm. The thicker the face mask, the more protection it offers.

4. Cut two pieces of elastic, one 20 cm in length and one 25 cm.

5. The smaller elastic will hold the mask around your neck while the longer one will go around your head.

6. Sew the corners of the fabric to the ends of the elastic.

7. The longer piece of elastic corresponds to the corners at the top of the mask and the shorter piece to the bottom.

8. Be sure to use several stitches so that the face mask will have greater resistance. Try to use double thread.

9. Sew a pleat in the fabric to fit over your nose.

10. Test out your face mask.

11. Make sure it corresponds to the size of your nose and mouth and that the edges don't bother you. It needs to be concave to ensure air doesn't get in on the sides.

12. Once you go through these steps you can use your face mask.

*The accompanying pictures show a mask made from Telas Magitel, which are kind of like Handi Wipes.

1 comment:

heartinsanfrancisco said...

You could whip up one to match every outfit. Then the big designers would jump in and start monogramming them. The price would go up, of course, until only the wealthy could afford them. Everyone else would die of Swine Flu.