Heroes in Masks

Stay home, Wash Hands, Make Face Shields

To everyone who want to help those of us on the front lines:

Before going home I bag my scrubs, change, and sanitize everything. I’ve stopped wearing rings and watches. I still wear my Homo Astronauticus.

Thank you so much for offering to make face masks for our patients, for people who may have COVID, who are coughing, and who we all want to keep from coughing into the air we breathe! Our goal is to keep non-healthcare workers from needing to buy surgical masks, leaving more for those actively caring for the ill. According to the CDC, homemade masks for healthcare workers are to be used as a last resort …*

There are many designs available. Here is one easy one for people to make and wear to the grocery store, to give to loved ones, or donate to healthcare. Here is a multi-step one, with explanation, from instructables! Masks need to be washed thoroughly in detergent or alcohol and allowed to dry completely, everyday, before reuse. Otherwise, the cure may rapidly become worse than the disease, as the masks, which hold in breath and things you come into contact with, get icky (mold, fungus, a basic breeding ground for bad bugs).

If you have the means to make FACE SHIELDS, that would SUPER. These face shields ARE needed by health care workers and would be very much appreciated in almost any US hospital right now! 

Lastly, if you’re wondering why it’s so hard to make a decent surgical mask, watch this 40-second video. The surgical masks we use in the hospital are both effective and easy to breathe through because they are electrostaticly charged. That also makes them VERY hard to clean and re-use. Cleaning with solutions compacts the material and ruins the charge. Cleaning wit UV can hurt the charge, too. There’s no good solution, pardon the pun, at the moment! 

For everyone who is helping: by digging in and staying home, limiting your time outside, and helping keep others educated and responsibly informed, thank you! Please take care of yourself at this time. There are many mental health resources coming online. Use them if you need them. Please

Remember: you are not alone. Not in this, and not ever. Hundreds of thousands of us are keeping the lights on, the power flowing, the food on the shelves, the streets clean, the mail coming, and the medicine moving. We are all working to keep you safe. We all care about you and want you to have the best possible outcome. Stay put, stay tuned, and know, like we did on sim Mars, that though there were only a few of us on the “planet”, many others supported us, thought about us, and made our lives possible. The same is true for you. And I believe this now as much as I ever did: Space needs you.

As it turns out, so does Earth, and everyone on it right now.

*…welcome to the last resort! We hope your stay will be brief and COVID-free.

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