During the COVID-19 crisis, the individuals and families that are experiencing housing instability are particularly vulnerable due to the lack of medical access. In an effort to address some of the hardships, City University of Seattle Enactus team came together to respond to the crisis.
CityU Enactus team started producing masks out of used t-shirts (the Shirtie masks) to provide protection for this vulnerable population during the crisis of COVID-19.
While not as effective as medical-grade masks, t-shirts can provide some protection, are comfortable to wear, and are washable and reusable (Davies, et al., 2013). They can be used for your own family or vulnerable populations such as those experiencing homelessness or maybe non-medical essential workers such as delivery and grocery store staff. Since we do not know which of us are infected, masks can help. Keep the medical-grade masks for our healthcare workers!
After the masks are made, people can drop them off at a local homeless shelter, use them for their family, or share with neighbors, their local grocery stores. It is important for the Shirtie mask makers to bag the masks and then the recipients should wash them in their washing machine to ensure their cleanliness before they use them. Tag #Shirtiemasks with you making the masks or delivering them.
Please note the research we found that said, “The pillowcase and the 100% cotton t-shirt were found to be the most suitable household materials for an improvised face mask. The slightly stretchy quality of the t-shirt made it the more preferable choice for a face mask as it was considered likely to provide a better fit.” (Davies, Thompson, Giri, Kafatos, Walker & Bennett, 2013). These masks are not medical quality as the Davies, et al. (2013) said, “Improvised homemade face masks may be used to help protect those who could potentially, for example, be at occupational risk from close or frequent contact with symptomatic patients. However, these masks would provide the wearers little protection from microorganisms from other persons who are infected with respiratory diseases. As a result, we would not recommend the use of homemade face masks as a method of reducing transmission of infection from aerosols.”
Our team has also created a tutorial video on how to make the Shirtie Masks with a filter pocket!
Now you learned how to make one, why not join us to produce more and help out the community! Let's flatten the curve together!
Recently the CDC said the scarves and bandanas could be used as masks but these t-shirts are an alternative.
Also a recent article about masks being potential helpful
Davies, A., Thompson, K., Giri, K., Kafatos, G., Walker, J., & Bennett, A. (2013). Testing the efficacy of homemade masks: Would they protect in an influenza pandemic? Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 7(4), 413-418. doi:10.1017/dmp.2013.43