Life

How To Buy Face Masks Responsibly During The UK's Coronavirus Outbreak

By Bustle UK
Updated: 

While health and government officials remain divided on the use of face masks in the fight against COVID-19, a number of countries across the world have now deemed them mandatory, and the UK government is advising people where them in enclosed spaces. But with the NHS suffering from significant personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages, many are worried about whether buying masks will affect those desperately in need. In light of this, Bustle has put together a list of independent brands selling face masks in the UK in a responsible way.

Before you begin browsing, it is important to remember that these are not medical-grade masks and they certainly do not offer a be-all-and-end-all solution the spreading of COVID-19. Even when you are wearing a mask, you should practice social distancing and you should continue to wash your hands regularly. And remember, although it may be tempting to touch your face while wearing a mask to make adjustments or have a quick scratch, this is absolutely the opposite of what they're there for. In other words, do not touch your face while wearing them.

The UK government website now has a page dedicated to the proper practices when it comes to wearing a face mask, and the WHO has published a document with advise also. If you are interested in making your own mask from materials around your home, the gov.uk page also has instructions on how to do that.

The masks listed below are reusable but you must wash them between each usage. According to Dr Yves Van Laethem, an infectious disease expert who spoke to the Brussels Times, "face masks should be machine washed at 60 degrees Celsius with conventional detergent — you don’t need any particular disinfectants." If you do not have access to a washing machine, Van Laethem suggests putting the face mask in a pot with simmering water or ironing it at a temperature "above that at which the virus may survive."

And one final thing: anyone who has a medical-grade face mask who is not deemed a 'key worker' should consider donating their supply to their local hospital. Details about donating should be available on the hospital's website.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle UK's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.