Coronavirus emergency: how to do it yourself amuchina and filter masks
In Italy, those who go to the pharmacy in these days of Coronavirus-emergency will notice that disinfectants and filter masks are nowhere to be found. A scenario that could also occur in other countries. WHO has explained how to do it yourself.
The World Health Organization (WHO) gave simple instructions for those in these Coronavirus-emergency days (here the updated numbers) would like to make disinfectants like the Amuchina or filter masks by himself.
Amuchina, one of the most effective disinfectant
The process is not difficult, so much so that many pharmacies in Italy are already building and distributing Amuchina pending new supplies. Here's how to make it yourself if necessary.
Amuchina is a disinfectant born in the 30s of the twentieth century to fight tuberculosis and which has been used since the Second World War to disinfect drinking water, then from the 70s in hospitals to disinfect dialysis machines and for peritoneal dialysis and, after the cholera epidemic of Southern Italy in the 1980s, to disinfect drinking water as well as fruit and vegetables.
The formula to get a liter of Amuchina
To make Amuchina yourself according to WHO rules, for each liter of product you will have to pour in distilled water (or boiled and then cooled), in this order: 833 ml of 96% ethyl alcohol, 42 ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide and 15 ml of 98% glycerin (glycerol). The latter has the task of making the solution more viscous.
The container can be made of plastic or glass and the solution can be mixed with plastic, metal or wooden tools. Once prepared, it is necessary to put the containers containing the solution in quarantine, away from heat sources, for at least 72 hours before use, so as to eliminate any spore present in the alcohol or in the containers.
Three classes of filter masks
As for filter masks, also known as personal protective equipment for the respiratory tract, they are divided into three classes: FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3 (FFP stands for “filtering face piece”).
Unfortunately, no mask offers 100% protection (obtainable only from sealed masks with a specific oxygen reserve), given that the coronavirus has a very small size, between 80 and 160 nanometers (millionths of millimeters), and “pumches” also the filter masks.
Coronavirus, a size problem
In fact, a filtering mask can block only particles with dimensions of at least 0.6 micrometers (thousandths of millimeters), i.e. 3.75 to 7 times larger than the coronavirus. However, the mask reduces our breath and therefore the possibility of transmission of the virus. The three classes indicate the protection offered by different concentrations of harmful substances.
The FFP1 masks are used to protect against non-toxic and non-fibrogenic powders and filter at least 80% of the particles found in the air. They are useful in general in the food and construction sector but do not serve to prevent viral infections. FFP2 masks are used in the metallurgical and mining industries since they protect against dust, smoke and solid and liquid aerosols harmful to health.
Finally, FFP3 masks, used in the chemical industry and analysis laboratories, also filter harmful carcinogenic and radioactive substances and some pathogenic microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi. For this reason, they are recommended by the WHO to try to prevent the involuntary transmission of coronavirus.
Make a filter mask yourself
Making a filter mask at home, following WHO instructions, is not difficult. You need fabric (or baking paper), a ruler, scissors, two elastic bands and a stapler. Start by cutting the cloth or baking paper for 20-25 cm in length (the width can be 33-35 cm, as in normal baking paper rolls).
Then bend “like a fan” the rectangle of fabric or paper for the length maintaining a distance of a couple of centimeters between each fold, finally insert elastic band at each end by folding the paper or fabric and stopping it with the stapler. At this point, you can gently open the mask that is ready to be applied to the face (by passing the elastic bands behind the ears).
Video tutorials and instructions for use
If you want, you can watch a video tutorial very well done on Youtube following this link: https://youtu.be/yP36UhrqF4Q. For the mask to be effective, it must adhere perfectly to the face (beard and mustache are therefore not recommended), the fabric or paper must be gas permeable and as waterproof as possible.
Each mask, which must be worn so that it covers from above the nose to below the chin, must, however, be changed after 6-8 hours of use and in any case once it has become wet. Before putting it on you will need to disinfect your hands, avoiding touching it once applied (to remove it you will have to unhook the elastics from behind the ears without touching the front).
Once exhausted, the mask must be thrown into a closed container, disinfecting the hands. Beyond the use of Amuchina and filter masks, it is recommended to follow theusual personal hygiene rules, in particular, wash your hands often, use only disposable tissues and avoid touching your nose and eyes with your hands.
It is also suggested to maintain a distance of at least one meter between each person, avoiding gatherings in public or private places until the coronavirus epidemic (towards which, as you know, vaccines are still being studied) will not have passed.