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What You Need to Know About Canada’s New Three-Layer Face Mask Guideline

New face mask recommendations - Woman wearing disposable face mask

What is the new COVID-19 face mask guideline?

In November, the Public Health Agency of Canada updated its guidelines on non-medical masks and face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Now, its recommended that a mask should be made up of at least three layerstwo layers of tightly-woven fabric such as cotton or linen, and a third, middle layer of a filter-type material, like a non-woven polypropylene fabric or a disposable filter. This update comes as health officials learn more about the science of masks and how infectious respiratory droplets move through the air.

What exactly is a non-woven polypropylene fabric?

Polypropylene fabric is a term used to describe any textile formed by heating and cooling a synthetic resin. Why is a layer of this fabric in your mask useful? It doesnt absorb moisture, which means the droplets that hit this material are repelled and evaporate quickly. Its also one of the lightest synthetic fibres available and can be found in craft fabrics and reusable shopping bags.According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, this non-woven filter layer offers extra protection by trapping small particles. Your mask should be washed daily, and the filter changed just as often (or as directed by the manufacturer).

Can you make your own?

Yes! The Public Health Agency of Canada has three sew and no-sew tutorials demonstrating how to make your own three-layer mask (or check out some different ways to make your DIY face maskno sewing required!). If you cant find craft fabric or disposable filters for the third layer, you can also use a folded paper towel. However, this layer shouldnt interfere with your breathingdont use plastic films or pieces of non-breathable plastic.If you dont trust your DIY skills, here are a few face mask options currently on the market that meet the new public health guidelines.(Related: 7 Best Ways to Avoid Maskne, According to Dermatologists)

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