Where to find face masks seems to be what most people are looking for nowadays. I’ve pulled resources and recommendations together from my Instagram followers and put them all in the list below. Most of them are here in San Diego so shop local if you can. Below are some considerations when deciding which mask to buy. Scroll further down for where to shop.
A quick note about face masks...they will not protect you from outside airborne particles entering through your face mask. They are only intended to help prevent YOU from infecting OTHERS. When you wear a face mask, you're preventing your own airborne particles from spreading to others. So if everyone wears a face mask, the general risk of viruses spreading are lowered. Even if you are young and healthy, you may be an asymptomatic carrier and not know it while spreading the virus to others if you don't wear one.
The current orders state that you must have a face mask with you at all times when you leave your house. You only need to put it on when you are within 6' of someone not from your household or when you're inside or near a place of business to help prevent your airborne particles from landing on nearby surfaces that others may touch.
FACE MASK CONSIDERATIONS
AGE: Current local San Diego orders calls for kids 3 years old and up to wear a face mask when coming within 6' of someone from outside of their household when out in public.
DO NOT put a face mask on a child 2 years old or under. When using face masks for younger kids 3+ please use adult supervision at ALL TIMES to ensure their proper use and make sure it does not slip around their neck.
From the orders I read, I understand them to mean that everyone needs to have a mask WITH THEM at all times when leaving your house. The mask is to be WORN when you are within 6' of someone from outside your household, and while inside grocery stores, hardware stores or other locations where people are getting essential items. Please ensure you read the orders correctly as it's easy to misinterpret and information is changing daily.
COST: Prices vary from free up to $30, but average around $10-$15.
FILTERS (*WARNING!!): Some are sewn with a filter pocket and some are not. For those that have a filter pocket, you have the option to add your own filter inside if you need extra protection. Those with a filter pocket don’t come with a filter, you have to source your own.
Personally, I got masks with a filter pocket for my family, but don't plan to use a filter unless we need to go inside a grocery store or the doctor's office, urgent care/ER, etc. We'll of course bring our masks with us everywhere else we go as required, but won't use a filter for our outings to go hiking and walking.
Also please note that this information is based on the research that I did and feel comfortable with using for my own family, which you may not feel the same way about. During this time everyone can be all over the map based on your own personal comfort level with everything going on right now. That is OK! You choose what's best for your family based on your own research and comfort. This is merely a guide to give you some ideas to consider when doing your own research. I'm not a doctor or a medical professional, so the following should not be taken as medical advice or anything of the like.
See below for the best (and WORST!) material to use for a face mask insert...
(edited) I've seen lots of places suggesting to use a HEPA filter like those for air conditioners or vacuum cleaner bags, BUT someone informed me those likely have CHEMICALS in them and should NOT be used.
-->Upon further research, some of those HEPA filter bags actually contain microscopic glass fibers that would be harmful to your lungs if they were inhaled. Please DO NOT repurpose HEPA filters made for other products as a face mask insert!
-->The other type of HEPA filter that is not made with microscopic glass fibers (Filtrete brand) is made with Polypropylene plastic fibers and strands. I wouldn't want to breathe plastic fibers into my lungs anymore than I would the fiberglass from the other brands. They all have posted warnings on their websites stating those are not made nor should they be used for face mask inserts.
WHAT FILTERS TO USE:
Some safer filter options noted to use could be "coffee filters, paper towels and the tissues with the Vick’s work well". Here's a link for your reference and based on this, these are actually the best for using a filter:
HERO coffee filters and kitchen towels were ranked after surgical masks and HEPA filters (don't use these, see warning above), BUT they are very hard to breathe through.
The best filtering breathable materials to use for face mask filter inserts are:
Thick Canvas 1-1.2mm
Bed Sheets, 100% cotton, 120 thread count
MATERIAL: Most studies show that two layers of 100% cotton offers one of the best filtering/breathability material to use for homemade face masks. Some of those listed below offer triple layers of 100% cotton; which is slightly better than two layers. One of the worst fabrics to use as a face cover are bandanas and scarves; which only filter out about 10% particles, but still they're better than nothing.
STYLE: Check the styles of each one you’re considering to see if it’ll work for you. Some are tie backs and that's honestly annoying to have to tie them on every time you need to cover up. Instead, look for ones with elastic ear straps, while some include a behind the head strap where you can unhook an ear strap and connect it behind your head for a more comfortable wear.
PATTERNS: Some have plain solid ones while others have all kinds of cute patterns with flowers, fruits and kid’s characters like Disney and unicorns. Most of their materials are limited and they’ll usually post once a week which patterns they were able to get and which ones have sold out or are still available. Some allow you to pick and choose while others don’t have a large selection.
SIZES: Some makers only make one size, while others have several sizes and even some for kids. If they have elastic, it's easy to just tie a knot in it to make the proper size.
WASH: You should wash masks in hot water before and after each use, or as otherwise noted on care instructions.
(edited) Most makers advise NOT to put these in the dryer because they might shrink and won't fit properly, also the elastic could melt in the dryer. Hand wash or use washing machine, but AIR DRY instead.
DONATIONS: Most of the local one-woman businesses are donating one mask to a local healthcare worker or frontline worker for every mask purchased. Not all are doing this, so if this is something you want to support consider buying from those who are donating.
WHERE TO GET A FACE MASK
Check your local Next Door app because lots of locals are making and selling or donating them. If you don’t see any posts about it ask if someone is making them or would be willing to make one who knows how to sew. You can find diagrams online.
Etsy has a lot of options and usually with a quick turnaround shipping, but this varies with each maker. You’ll find more patterns, prints, fabrics and styles on here. If you're looking for a specific pattern, it's easy to type it in and search for it.
Check your local tailor shop or dry cleaners to ask if they’re making and selling any.
Here’s one in Clairmont:
Lido Tailor Shop in Clairemont
Addy: 3047 Clairemont Dr., 92117
Web: no website
Recommendations in no particular order are below. I tried looking up most of these that I could to include more information for you, but I wasn’t able to spend a ton of time getting every single detail. So click to each one to ask them your specific questions.
LOCAL TO SAN DIEGO:
(added) Instagram: @paradigmmasksd
Background: These parents are living in their car due to a medical injury and lost their housing. Their daughters moved in with their aunt while they get back on their feet. During a free dinner at Resolved Church, they connected with someone who gave them a sewing machine, fabric is donated from the San Diego Quilters Guild and mask making space at the church for them. They work from morning to night making masks trying to save enough to get a new place and get their girls back. Please consider buying a mask to help them out.
Cost: $10/kids, $15/adults