Everybody's fighting COVID-19. What can you do to protect yourself and others? Keep a distance of 1.5 meters, wash your hands, stay in your house and when going into stores or public spaces wear a mouth mask.
The last few weeks, people have started to make their own respiratory masks. But do they protect you well enough against the virus? There are three types of mouth masks which have their own function, only one type is the right one for safe breathing.
Types of mouth masks
The real deal are the medical mouth masks FFP2/3. These filter incoming air and form a barrier against bacteria and viruses. They are personal protective equipment. They only protect the wearer when there are gases and not just dust. Filtering incoming air is very important for doctors or nurses who come into direct contact with corona patients.
Surgical mouth masks
Since Monday April 13th, finally surgical mouth masks are produced in our own country, big applause for Belgian production companies Van Heurck and ECA. With their machines 190 million mouth masks can be made per year. There will also be a machine to produce FFP2 masks for use in the medical sector. In the medical sector, certain nurses need masks that provide two-way protection, protecting themselves and the patient on the one hand.
FFP1 and other mouth masks
A third type of mask is FFP1. This mask avoids partly that your own larger breathing drops spread far, but is no guarantee of protection for both parties.
Fake safety with scarves
And then there are mouth masks that only protect you from dust and odors. So they don't keep a virus out. It can be dangerous to turn a scarf into a mask, for example. This is a breeding ground for viruses and absolutely inadvisable.
Personal mouth masks for use in public areas.
What about homemade or fabric mouth masks? These are anti-projection masks. They ensure that 50% of the air you breathe out stays closer to yourself and doesn't reach as far to another person.
Companies or cities and towns that need larger quantities of mouth masks can contact the Belgian producers on this list of Creamoda. In the meantime, all Belgian fashion factories also switched to the production of general mouth masks for personal use. Those who buy in small quantities of 1-100 pieces for personal use can easily order online from the local designers listed below.
Do you want to start making your own mouth cap? Then work with the pattern from the following website: https://maakjemondmasker.be These homemade masks are recommended by the Federal Public Health Administration. If you want to make it yourself, do it in a sustainable way! Work with recuperating substances and preferably organic cotton, so that you protect the environment as well as yourself. Attention natural fabrics such as cotton absorb more moisture. It is important that you put on a new mask (every half day) because bacteria accumulate on the inside. These 'fashion masks' with filter are therefore only suitable for people who want to reduce the risk of infecting others and keep the virus alive.
We also have to make sure that we don't use excessively worn fabrics for mouth masks, or don't wear mouth masks that have already been washed very often. With each wash, the textile loses fibres, which in turn allows more air to pass through and makes them less preventative.
In addition, a good mouth mask for daily use in shops, supermarkets or public transport always has room for a filter. According to the FOD guidelines, the designers below set to work and created mouth masks with room for such a filter.
In any case, social distancing, keeping a distance of 1.5 metres and good hand hygiene are still the most important measures.
Respiratory masks made from materials that remove CO2 from the air?
Captain Cork makes respiratory masks out of cork. Cork provides the most sustainable and durable material. Every time the cork tree bark is peeled, the cork tree extracts CO2 from the air to grow new bark. The Captain Cork mouth masks consist of two layers, cork on the outside and cotton on the inside. They also have a filter. They are not 100% safe for covid-19 so they cannot be used for medical purposes. They came in handy during the shortage of respiratory masks for the police in Beveren though. The masks designed by fashion entrepreneur Ina de Quint of Captain Cork were praised both on Belgian and Portuguese national TV.Order your mouth mask from Captain Cork here
Mouth masks with bio nano coating
Share the Passion from Zedelgem has recently started making eco-friendly mouth masks. They are made in Portugal from bamboo, which is antibacterial. There is also bio nano coating in this mask which has an antibacterial effect, viral protection and permanent breath odour control. The advantage is that the masks can be washed 100 times. Much less waste from disposable mouth masks.Order your mouth mask from Share the Passion here
At Ida&Volta, transparency, ecology and circularity are extremely important. Besides clothing, they produce mouth masks. They consist of 100% organic cotton and are GOTS certified. Transparency is important, also when producing mouth masks. The cotton comes from Uganda and is woven in Germany. Finally, they are made in Ghent. Thanks to the 2 layers of cotton, there is room for a filter.Order your mouth mask from Ida&Volta here
Façon Jacmin sells masks for men and women. Of course they are made of denim, but on top of that they are also finished with a hem in the middle and two side pleats for comfort. The masks are made in Bulgaria with fine Italian cotton denim. The inside is made of Italian jersey. You can wash them at 60 degrees. Those who prefer an original mask can choose the beautiful tie-dye version.Order here your mouth mask from Façon Jacmin
Elke Hoste has 30 years of experience as a modeller for designers, fashion designers, artists and musicians. Currently she makes durable, personalized mouth masks for both individuals and companies. Sustainable? Yes, all mouth masks are made of organic cotton. There is one size that fits everyone and you can wash them.Order your mouth mask from Elke Hoste here
Brussels takes care of caregivers
Natacha Cadonici also immediately came to the rescue of Brussels based caregivers. 1 month ago, at the start of the Corona crisis, she reorganised to make mouth masks. A group of Brussels-based stylists united and this results in 200 mouth masks per day. Their goal is to make masks for people who are forgotten but also at risk of being infected. Child caretakers, midwives, homeless people, institutional psychiatrists, nursing homes, cashiers, etc. The group that participates in this initiative is growing by the day at this moment 1400 stylists, designers and volunteers participate. At the moment, she also sells mouth masks to customers.
At Sprookjesstof you can order a sewing kit to make your own mouth mask out of upcycled Kioko Kids fabrics. This contains fabric for 4 mouth masks and is 100% organic cotton and GOTS certified. You will be surprised by nice prints and beautiful colors.Order your sewing kit
Mouth masks according to the principles of circular economics?
Tropas is an ecological shoe label from Sint-Niklaas. Caro Peirs immediately took action to do her bit in times of corona. She swapped shoe design for making sustainable mouth masks. For every mask sold, she gives one away to people in need and care organizations. A very good initiative. The mouth masks are made of upcycled post-consumer textiles and they consist of 2 layers and an opening for a replaceable filter. This way there are three layers for protection.
Tropas does not have a webshop to order mouth masks, but all orders by residents of Sint-Niklaas can be placed by mail.Order your Tropas mouth mask here
Personalised company masks
Bamboo Belgium masks are made in Portugal from bamboo, which is antibacterial. A bio-nano coating was added onto this mask that for an antibacterial effect, viral protection and permanent control of breath odour. These masks can be washed up to 100 times - much less waste than disposable masks.
But even better, Bamboo Belgium is the only Belgian supplier that can make larger bulk orders to print your company logos on truly sustainable material; FSC Bamboo. Other 'regular advertising print shops' print on (recycled) polyester, each time releasing microplastic when washed.
As a consumer, you can buy Bamboo Belgium masks for men or children individually from Bloom Conscious Clothing.
At Anders Getint you'll find linen mouth masks from the Living Crafts brand with an elastic band for behind the ear and a flexible metal brace at the nose. The mouth masks are designed in Germany and are made in Turkey.
Anders Getint also sells mouth masks from 't Collectief. These are made in Leuven by people with psychological vulnerability. The masks are made of organic cotton and based on the pattern of FOD. Order a mouth mask at Anders Getint
At Harvest Club in Leuven sells several nice mouth masks. You'll find mouth masks made of upcycled stock material, 100% made in Belgium.
You'll also find 100% cotton mouth masks designed by Ghent illustrator Helen B. The masks are made in Portugal and come in a 100% biodegradable bag.Order mouth masks at Harvest Club
Although wearing a mask does already ensure you're better protected from the virus, you have to wear it in the correct way. Follow the instructions below or watch the movie here:
If you put it on, you have to go through the following steps:
1. Wash your hands
2. Grab it by the ends of the strings
3. Do not touch the inside of the mask
4. Place the mask over your nose and mouth by moving the mask on the outside.
Follow these steps to take off the mask:
1. Wash your hands
2. Loosen it behind your ears with the strings, but don't touch your face.
3. Do the mouth mask by the laundry and wash it at 90°.
4. Wash your hands
Put your mask in a ziplock bag and don't let it lying around. Don't forget to use a filter, good examples are a coffee filter or a vacuum cleaner filter.Video instructing how to put a mask on properly
and protect yourself and others
Keep up the good work designers!
And those who wear masks publicly please use reusable ones and don't throw them on the ground or in nature after use. People seeing masks or gloves in nature please document them and share the pictures to your socials with hashtag #coronalitter .Read other corona stories