How hard is it to find a medical grade face mask?

The search for masks during coronavirus

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Now that more people are wearing masks when out in public, it may be more difficult to get your hands on professionally made, medical grade masks.

Many families are beginning to get more creative when figuring out how to keep themselves protected.

“We were looking then up online and everywhere we went they were just sold out nobody has them,” said Venda Cowan of Hurtsboro, AL.

Venda Cowan’s family, like many others, say they desperately searched for masks because they suffer from other illnesses.

“My mother has recovered from leukemia. My father has COPD and a lot of other chronic heart issues. My grandfather is nearly 90. And, I have a mentally challenged sister who has a lot of immunity issues,“ said Cowen.

When we searched stores and the Internet for professionally made, medical grade masks we found very few options.

Taking the advice of health experts, the Cowens are making their own masks, donating some and selling the others.

“It’s got coffee filter inside of it. A nurse friend of ours said to take a coffee filter, cut it to fit, soak it in alcohol- 91% alcohol, let it dry, put it inside your mask and press it in with an iron. You have to change it every time you go out. It’s a little tedious but it is a good effort," Cowen said.

Another barrier to finding a professionally made mask, many of the N95 and surgical masks are being reserved for healthcare workers. Those on the front lines coming into direct contact with the deadly virus.

The CDC advised the public to make your own mask using 100% cotton.

Click here for details on how to make your own mask.

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