During the COVID-19 pandemic, health care and other essential workers are often required to wear face masks for long periods of time. In many places, everyone is being asked to wear a face mask in public. The typical face mask is held in place by loops around the ears. After a few hours, these loops irritate the skin. Worn day after day, these masks can cause pain, irritation, and skin lesions. For people living with Migraine, wearing a face mask all day can create the additional problem of triggering attacks.
Recently, I volunteered to make handmade masks for my community. I began experimenting with several styles and discovered one in particular that was especially comfortable for people with Migraine. It’s also fast and easy to make. The instructions are included below. Try it out, share it with others, and let me know what you think.
- sewing machine
- 100% cotton fabric, pre-washed
- 1-2 shoe laces
- Cut two (2) pieces of fabric, 11″ x 9″ each. Feel free to add extra layers of fabric, if needed.
- Fold long edges over 1/2 inch and iron flat.
- Sew right sides together with a 3/8 inch selvage along the short ends of the fabric.
- Turn the fabric right side out and iron seams flat.
- Slide shoe laces through the newly-created “sleeve.”
- If longer length is needed, tie two shoe laces together with a square knot.
- Place the shoe lace against the inside edge of the seam, then sew wrong sides together, 3/8″ from the outside edge so that the shoe lace is encased in fabric, but can slide freely.
- Sew along the outside edge of the long sides, starting and stopping at the stitch line of the encased shoe laces.
- Place the shoe lace loop over the head so that the face mask hangs in front of you like a necklace.
- Slide the face mask up toward you so that the bottom edge is touching under your chin.
- Gather the fabric together and place the top edge against your nose.
- Tie the shoe laces around the back of the head so that the face mask is firmly, but comfortably held in place.
- When wearing your hair up in a ponytail, bun, or barrette, tie the shoe laces above it to hold it in place easier.
In just 15 minutes, you can have a comfortable face mask that never rests on your ears and won’t put too much pressure around your head, eliminating the potential for a Migraine attack. Just remember to wash and dry your mask after each use. Many people find it helpful to make enough face masks to have a clean one every day of the week.
Stay safe. Love people from a distance. We’ll get through this okay if we take good care of ourselves and others. To learn more about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on living with Migraine, visit the American Migraine Foundation today.