Photo: Twitter/@MPD_bousai

Make-it-yourself mask technique gets new interest as coronavirus fears cause shortage in Japan

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Surgical masks are a common sight on the streets of Japan, but these days they’re not nearly as easy to find in stores, as demand is surging due to three different factors.

First up, it’s still cold season, meaning both commuters who’ve already come down with a case of sniffles as well as those who don’t want to have been wearing masks on trains on their routes to/from work or school. Second, a warmer-than-usual winter has kickstarted pollen production from Japan’s trees, with hay fever sufferers starting to strap on masks. Third, and most dramatically impacting demand for masks, the coronavirus outbreak continues to be at the front of people’s minds.

The combined effect has been that many stores in Japan are sold out of masks, and so a tweet from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s Disaster Response Division has been getting renewed attention. Originally posted three years ago, the tweet shows how to easily make your own masks with nothing more than paper towels, rubber bands, and staples.

The process is pretty simple. First, take a paper towel and fold it repeatedly back onto itself, with each fold being about as wide as your index finger, which will create a bellows-like pattern. Place the edge of a rubber band at each end of the folded paper and attach it with a staple. Finally, loop the rubber bands around your ears and unfold the central part of he paper, slipping it over your mouth and nose.  The Disaster Response Division says that the mask is effective in protecting against the inhalation of dust and sand, and odds are it’s pretty good at keeping out pollen too.

However, while the technique is quick and clever, it’s worth remembering that the tweet was made long before the coronavirus outbreak occurred. The tweet makes no comment, though, as to whether or not the material and fit are up to the task of protecting wearers from viral infection, and the police have not made any sort of follow-up announcement in the wake of the renewed interest the tweet has been getting during the coronavirus outbreak, so if the continuing health crisis is why you’re looking to wear a mask, going with a store-bought variety is probably still the far wiser choice, especially if you remember to wear it the right way.

Source: Twitter/@MPD_bousai via Livedoor News/J-Cast via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Tokyo Police show a clever way to conserve water in a disaster and impress children with magic

-- Kyoto tourist crowds disappearing due to coronavirus outbreak, creating travel crisis/opportunity

-- Japanese kitty sculptor creates a new topical meme figure: a cat in a face-mask

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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These mask are obviously intended to keep excessive dust or other dry powders out, but without any use against liquid droplets that contain pathogens. A good rule of thumb is that if you fill the mask with water as if it were a bucket and the water do not filter out then it at least have some chance to be useful.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Old jock strap will nicely fit over mouth and nose with elastic band to boot.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wrapping your entire head in Saran Wrap would be better for stopping viruses.

Though you would probably suffocate so best not try it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This might work for hay fever. But, totally useless for airborne illnesses.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What a good idea. I'd better make a print out so my kids would know exactly what to do when they need a mask. I would ask them to question if it will be effective for protections but it will give them something to do.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A self adhesive sanitary towel is just as helpful.

No paper mask will protect you from the Corona virus, flu, cold etc. It may help filter some larger particles of pollen and dust, but that's it. Once it gets moist from your saliva and breath it's useless for anything, apart from harbouring any unpleasant viruses or bacteria.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know much about masks, and people are always going on about them here, both to use them, and to not. So I asked my doctor friend about them.

He said that they are effective, even when the holes are bigger than the size of the virus. The layers aren't built so that there is a whole of x nanometers, perfectly through the mask. The individual holes are of a size, and they use multiple layers, and that using a mask is most definitely better than not.

Is he right? I don't know. I don't have the chops to know.

But I'll take his word over the hacks on the internet any day.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

May not protect the wearer , but will help protect others from your 'droplets' .

As long as you are not led to believe these are infallible , they are better than nothing .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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