Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has set up a panel of advisors to decide whether or not more of us should wear face-masks to help tackle the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Currently, the WHO has deemed that the only people that really need to be wearing these masks are those who are sick and showing symptoms of COVID-19 or are caring for people suspected to have the virus.
A local resident of Leicester and BSc Criminology graduate Holly Cartledge, recently decided she wanted her own mask for some extra peace of mind whenever she has to venture outside.
Commenting on the availability of masks from clothing shops Holly said: “I can’t afford to buy a face mask, and especially a nice one. I wear a lot of bright colours and I wanted to be able to have some peace of mind, whilst also sticking to me.”
“I wanted a nice one for myself after viewing ones on clothing websites for 5 or even 9 pounds a pop!”
Whilst the research is still being done into whether or not these masks are necessary for healthy members of the public, a lot of people choose to wear them to ease their own anxieties.
Holly said: “I made sure to repeatedly note that these were for fashion purposes, keeping your face warm, covering existing compliant medical masks, or for any other purpose.”
“My flat looks onto a busy road, and I spend a lot of this isolation people-watching. I was seeing loads and loads of stark white medical masks, or people improvising with t-shirts or scarves, and I figured that I had half a solution.”
Whilst these masks can alleviate some of our fears when we have to go out for essential reasons, the WHO say that it’s important to note that precautions and other methods of preventing the spread of the virus still need to be taken.
On the WHO website, it states that: “Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.” They also state that people should wear a mask if they are coughing or sneezing.
After posting about her home-made masks on a local Facebook group, Holly has received a number of orders from others in the community. She said: “One customer wanted a number for young people with learning difficulties, who were being caused a great deal of anxiety by the pandemic and she wanted to give them peace of mind.
“I have had key workers who like my floral fabric, and I think that the elderly people and children whom they look after, appreciate not feeling like they are separated from their nurses because of a harsh, and plain medical mask.”
Creating these masks has also had a positive result on Holly herself. She said that: “keeping my hands busy has been the most important part. It means I have to focus on a particular task that is productive, I have customers waiting so I can’t let them down, which keeps me moving and motivated. I stitched 7 just yesterday so I’m hoping I can continue to sell them for a while.”
By Sam Ellison