• ellengulson

Making Masks


On the weekend, Rob and I decided to take our oldest two out of school at least for the remainder of the term. This was simultaneously a tough call and a very easy one. The kids love their school and get so much out of it, so they will miss it. And keeping them home is certainly harder than sending them. But Mr. 5 and Mr. 2 have asthma and there hasn’t been a single winter since my oldest was born that we haven’t had a least one extended stay in the paediatrics ward. RSV, Pneumonia, bronchiolitis, tracheal tug, intercostal breathing, tachycardia, tachypnoea, wheezing, worker breathing, high flow oxygen, saturation……. All these and more became part of my vocabulary long before I started my nursing studies last year. Like any parent of a child who has a medical condition, I have become an expert in their condition. I know what works for them, what triggers them, how long they will typically spend in hospital each time. But the thing that I have learnt more than anything over our many hospital stays and specialist visits, is that I am my children’s best advocate. I am their protector and know them the best. Therefore I am best placed to make a decision about whether or not they go to school.

Whilst I am worried about how they would cope with the current virus, I am also conscious of the capacity that I have to reduce the pressure on our health system by trying even harder than I usually do to keep my kids out of the health system. If I can keep them from getting the normal colds and viruses that put them into the hospital, then I can free up those respiratory specialists that are desperately needed right now.

So, here I am, making masks to reduce my exposure in those times where I cannot avoid leaving the house (supermarket etc). And making smaller ones to use on the kids if I have to take them out to the dr. or hospital (non-virus related).

There are lots of great patterns available online for making masks, but I used this one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7K6l9ZQvjyw&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0yyefGtZzoEsIH7NOpbSeoMDsnONSQM0rIC9wzgj9Y-VsfaQ_L7P6XvyM

I used the size they recommended for the adult ones, and then sized them down for the kids by removing approximately 1cm all around for the kids. I probably could have gone a bit smaller, especially if I had planned to use it on Mr. 2, but frankly I can’t see him keeping it on ever anyway. For the kid’s ones I only used 2 layers of fabric rather than the three in the above pattern to make it easier for them to breath. Obviously if they are having an asthmatic event, I would not use them, as I would not do anything to compromise their breathing.

I used this research as a guide to what fabric to use, and went with a cotton pillow case. It is not as effective as a surgical mask (~60% vs 99%), but it is much better than nothing at all. https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-materials-make-diy-face-mask-virus/

Happy Sewing and solidarity to all the newly homeschooling mums! F*&k this is hard work.

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