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How to make a mask in four easy steps

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You can easily make your own mask using a T-shirt. Any type will do, as long as it is not too thin; 100 percent cotton is recommended. Make sure the shirt is large enough that the finished mask will cover both mouth and nose.

The T-shirt mask is not a substitute for professionally manufactured surgical masks, but does offer some protection, especially against infecting others.

1. Trace the pattern of the mask, as in the illustration. The bottom line should be just beneath the armpits of the shirt.

2. Cut through both layers of the shirt, according to the pattern.

3. Use a safety pin to fasten the two layers together at the bottom.

4. Insert a paper towel or a coffee filter between the layers of cloth as an extra filter. It should rest on the safety pin.

To wear the mask, tie the top straps around your head; tie the bottom straps at the top of your head, as in the illustration.

Caring for your mask

• Do not wear the mask at home or in the car, unless you are not with the small circle of people with whom you are in regular contact.

 Wear it only when needed — when social distancing may be difficult to ensure.

 Do not remove the mask until safely clear of strangers and can thoroughly wash hands.

 Avoid touching the front of the mask, in case it has become contaminated, or handle only with gloves.

 Remove the paper towel or coffee filter and dispose of safely.

 Soak in soapy water for two minutes, then wash and rinse. Any soap will do.

 Wash hands thoroughly and disinfect anything touched while cleaning the mask.

 Replace the insert before using again.

 Avoid going outside if any symptoms are present.

— Courtesy The Guardian